This recipe is a lighter version than the traditional one. Instead of flouring and frying the slices of eggplant I roast them in the oven. The dish can be assembled ahead of time and baked when you are ready to serve it. It can also be reheated with great result.
- 2½ pounds firm eggplant, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 ½ tablespoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds San Marzano tomatoes (peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped). You can use Italian canned tomatoes like Cento or Mutti
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon basil, minced
- 1 ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 1 pound low-moisture mozzarella,shreded
To prepare the eggplants, sprinkle eggplants all over with 1-tablespoon salt. Layer in a large colander set in the sink. Lay a plate over the eggplant and weight the top with cans to help press out excess liquid. Let drain about ½ hour, pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit. Brush the slices on both sides with olive oil and lay them flat on a baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake until soft and browned on the top, about 25 minutes. Flip them over and bake them for 10 minutes more.
To make the sauce, In a large saucepan over, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomato, garlic and basil and continue cooking the sauce on low heat for 30 minutes.
If you want a smooth texture pass the mixture through a food mill or puree in a blender until smooth.
To assemble the eggplant parmigiana, spread ¾ cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. Add half of the eggplant, in an even layer. Spread with 1-cup tomato sauce. Sprinkle with ½ cup grated Parmigiano. Sprinkle with half the shredded mozzarella. Spread with 2 more cups sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining grated mozzarella and ½ cup of Parmigiano. Top with an even layer of the remaining eggplant. Spread remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese.
Tent the baking dish with foil, so it is not touching the cheese and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is browned and crusty and sauce is bubbling all over, another 15 minutes. Let cool and set 5 to 10 minutes before cutting and serving.