Eggplant Parmesan (version XXXVII)

Eggplant Parmigiana

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2 ounces virgin olive oil
2 large eggplants, about 2 pounds
salt and pepper
2 cups basic tomato sauce
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, in chiffonade
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/8th-inch thick
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted under broiler

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Oil a baking sheet with the virgin olive oil. Slice each eggplant into 6 pieces, each about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Lightly season each disk with salt and pepper and place on oiled sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until deep brown on top. Remove from oven, take off baking sheet and place on plate to cool.

Lower oven to 350 degrees. In an 8 by 12-inch brownie pan, place the 4 largest eggplant disks evenly spaced apart. Over each disk, spread 2 ounces of tomato sauce and sprinkle with a teaspoon of basil. Place one slice of mozzarella over each and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated parmigiano. Place the smaller slices of eggplant over each of the disks and repeat with tomato sauce, basil and the two cheeses. Repeat again until you finish ingredients.

You now have four "towers". Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the top and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and tops are light brown. Serve immediately.

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