Eggplant Parmesan (version XLIII)

Eggplant Parmigiana alla Napoletana

40 ounces tomato puree
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sweet basil, ground
1/2 teaspoon oregano, ground
2 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large eggplant
salt as needed
1 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups bread crumbs
3/4 cup olive oil
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Combine first eight ingredients and heat over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Be careful, not to scorch. Reserve.

Place 1/2-inch sliced eggplant on rack; sprinkle lightly with salt. Let stand for about 20 minutes so bitter juice can run off.

Rinse each slice and pat dry. Coat each slice with flour; dip in egg; then coat lightly with bread crumbs.

Heat oil in heavy skillet (oil should be 1/2-inch deep). When oil is hot, add eggplant slices. Heat 2 minutes on each side or until soft and golden. Reserve slices on paper toweling to absorb excess oil. Place about 1/2-inch reserved tomato sauce over bottom of baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Place eggplant in layers in dish; sprinkle each layer with cheeses, alternate layers until all ingredients are used, reserving a little of each cheese for top. Cover lightly with remaining sauce and reserved cheeses. Bake at 325F. for 30 minutes.

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