3-4 large Eggplant, any variety or mixed
Marinara Sauce, about 4 cups
Basil, about 20 leaves
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, one large ball (CSA!)
Shredded Mozzarella, about 1 cup
Parmesan Cheese, about ½ cup
Salt and Pepper
- 1. Slice Eggplant in big pieces about 1/4 inch thick. To remove bitter taste from eggplant, lie out on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt. Let eggplant sit for about 10-15 minutes until small beads of water begin to appear. Rinse eggplant under cold water and pat dry.
- 2. Prepare flour with salt and pepper for dredging. Dredge eggplant in flour lightly.
- 3. In cast iron pan, fry eggplant in olive oil until browned on both sides. Set aside.
- 4. Prepare deep baking dish by rubbing olive oil on bottom and sides of pan. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and shake pan to coat bottom and sides.
- 5. Place ½ of the eggplant on top of breadcrumbs to create first layer. Place about 6-8 whole basil leaves on top of eggplant. Coat generously with marinara sauce. Place about 1/3 of fresh and shredded mozzarella and ½ Parmesan cheese on top of eggplant and basil. Repeat with second ½ of eggplant, basil leaves, marinara sauce and remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- 6. Place more basil on top of cheese for decoration. 1. Bake in 400-degree oven for about 30 minutes until bubbling. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
For Marinara Sauce –
2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes, squeeze tomatoes with hands to break apart
1 can of crushed tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
Parsley, about ½ cup chopped
Salt and Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper, optional
Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in large pot. Place squeezed and crushed tomatoes, garlic and ½ of parsley in pot. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook on low for about 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest for 30 minutes or more. Add remaining parsley and return to boil briefly before using or serving. Note that this recipe does not use onions and, as a result, the marinara is less sweet than most other sauces. If you desire a sweeter sauce, sauté 1 finely diced medium yellow onion in olive oil prior to adding the rest of the ingredients. Basil leaves can also be added to change flavor profile. This sauce can also be made with ground beef, veal or pork. Simply pan fry about 1 pound and a half of ground meat until browned and add to sauce with tomatoes. Sauce can freeze well in Tupperware or plastic gallon bags for up to 6 months.
Add other vegetables – Layer thinly sliced fresh tomatoes or zucchini with eggplant. Zucchini can be dredged in flour and prepared similar to eggplant.
Add Italian Sausage – Remove sausage from casing, break up into small pieces and fry until brown. Spread sausage on top of eggplant prior to adding marinara sauce on each layer.