Eggplant Parmesan (version XV)

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1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1-28 ounce can tomatoes (with juice), seeded and chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 medium eggplants, about 2 pound olive oil cooking spray
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 sprigs basil, or more

Heat oil in a saucepan over moderate heat. Add onion and cook a few minutes. Add garlic and cook until onion is soft but not browned. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, hot pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir, bring to a boil, and simmer 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat, add basil and let cool at room temperature. Check for seasonings.

Meanwhile, trim (but don't peel) eggplants. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Spray a nonstick skillet with olive oil cooking spray and cook slices over medium-high heat in batches until browned, 3-4 minutes on each side. (Add more spray to skillet - off the heat - or eggplant slices, as needed). As eggplant slices are done, put them on a serving platter, slightly overlapping each other. Season slices with salt and pepper. Pour tomato sauce over eggplant, sprinkle with cheese, and garnish with basil sprigs.

Serve it with either cooked rice or potatoes or you can go the Italian restaurant route and use pasta. Also polenta would be good.

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