Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eggplant Parmigiana

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This vegetarian Italian dish is something I created after talking to an Italian-American colleague of mine while in graduate school in Florida. He described the dish to me in detail that it was not hard to figure out a good recipe to recreate this wonderful and healthy dish. I have made this various ways but I have finally managed to cook this without using a lot of oil. I also did away with his preference of using various thickness of eggplant slices and settled on a uniform thickness which makes it easier to layer them. After cooking this with my invented recipe, I was glad to realize that Sophia Loren's recipe of the dish is fairly similar to mine except that she uses slices of fresh Mozarella cheese while I preferred the grated kind. For this version though, I'll be using slices of fresh Mozarella in combination with grated Grana Padano. 

Eggplant Parmigiana

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
4 medium eggplants
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp olive oil + extra if 
45 oz canned diced 
6 oz tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp fresh parsley, 
salt and pepper
1 lb fresh Mozarella, sliced 
2 cups grated Grana Padano or Pamigiano Reggiano

1. In a large pot, heat half the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic 
    and cook until softened and slightly browned. 

2. Add the dried herbs and saute for a minute. Add the diced tomatoes and 
    tomato paste and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer 
    covered over low heat for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Trim the ends of the eggplants and slice them into 
    1/4 inch thick slices. Drizzle or brush the rest of the olive oil on the 
    eggplant slices and season with salt and pepper on both sides. You may 
    need to use more oil. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment 
    paper until browned and soft. Let cool. 

4. Check the sauce for flavor and turn off the heat. Let cool slightly. In a 
    9x13 baking dish, spoon and spread about 1 cup of tomato sauce. Layer 
    the eggplants and fill in the gaps. Spoon enough of the tomato sauce 
    over the eggplants until evenly covered. Layer thin slices of the 
    Mozarella cheese and sprinkle in half the Grana Padano. Repeat the 
    process until you end up with two layers. Sprinkle the parsley over the 
    cheese layer.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until bubbly. 
    Let cool for about 5 minutes before slicing.

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