Eggplant Parmesan (version XLVI)

4 cups of chopped canned tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Other Ingredients:
3 pounds small to medium eggplants
cooking oil spray (such as pam)
1 pound reduced fat ricotta cheese
1 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 medium egg (or egg substitute)
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Peel the eggplant, and cut into 1/2 inch slices lengthwise. Sprinkle with salt, and layer the slices in a colander to drain, placing a plate and a weight (such as a few cans of tomatoes) on top. Leave to drain for about an hour.

While the eggplant is purging, begin the sauce by heating the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent. Add the garlic and cook another minute and then add the tomatoes. Season with the chopped basil and other seasonings, and let simmer for about 40 minutes.

Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry. Either broil or grill the eggplant, first spraying lightly with the oil spray to prevent sticking. Cook until golden on either side. In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Add the egg, basil and season to taste. In an 8 X 12 inch baking dish, spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce along the bottom. Add a couple of spoonfuls of water, mixing lightly. Place a layer of the eggplant slices on this sauce, overlapping slightly. Spoon over enough sauce to cover lightly, and then sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese. Repeat with another layer of the eggplant slices and the sauce. Spread the ricotta mixture over this, and finish with the last layer of the eggplant and sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

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