Eggplant Parmesan (version XLIX)

4 cups Basic Marinara
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped-optional
3 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
olive oil cooking spray
garlic powder and salt
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated monterey jack cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Basic Marinara
1 cup dry white or light bodied red wine
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
1 28-ounce can ready cut roma or regular tomatoes or 2 pounds fresh roma or regular tomatoes, peeled and seeded.
1 medium red or yellow onion chopped
2 large cloves fresh garlic, pressed or minced
2-3 tablespoons fresh basil (1 tablespoon dry)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (1/2 tablespoon dry)
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6-8 shakes chili powder or cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
olive oil cooking spray

Prepare basic marinara sauce according to recipe directions, adding sliced mushrooms and pepper along with tomatoes.

Preheat oven to 450 F. Lightly spray several large baking sheets with cooking spray. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on baking sheets; spray top of eggplant lightly with cooking spray and dust with garlic powder and salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Mix mozzarella, monterey jack and parmesan cheeses together with beaten egg white in a medium size bowl. Cover cheese mixture and set aside.

Reduce oven to 350 F. Place a single layer of eggplant in a 9x13 inch baking dish; cover eggplant with 1/3 of sauce and 1/3 of cheese mixture. Repeat process, finishing with last layer of eggplant and remaining 1/3 of sauce. Cover remaining 1/3 of cheese mixture and set aside.

Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes or until bubbling. Remove dish from oven and top with remaining 1/3 cheese mixture. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

Basic Marinara
Lightly spray a 4-quart stock pot with olive oil cooking spray and preheat on medium. Saute garlic 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden. Add tomatoes and all remaining ingredients, except fresh basil and olive oil.

Simmer sauce for 1-4 hours. Add basil and olive oil to sauce a few minutes before end of cooking time. If sauce becomes too thick, add a little water.

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