Two things about eggplant parmesan, it’s not a quick dish or anyone’s idea of a diet dinner, but if it wasn’t so good, no one would make it, right? This is a pretty easy version, possibly a little lighter because you’re going to roast the eggplant and can be done in stages. Serves 4-6
Eggplant Parmesan with Roasted Eggplant
- 2 pounds eggplant, cut into generous ½” slices
- Olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan
- 8 ounces grated mozzarella
- ½ cup ricotta (optional)
Arrange eggplant slices on a large baking pan in one layer. Sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons kosher salt and set aside for 30 minutes.
When the 30 minutes is up, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
Transfer eggplant slices to paper towels and blot them of as much water as possible. Dry the baking sheet, coat it with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle the oil with several grinds of black pepper. Arrange eggplant slices in one layer. Drizzle with 2 more tablespoons of oil and more grinds of black pepper. Roast until nicely browned underneath, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn eggplant slices over and roast until browned underneath on the second side, another 10 minutes. It’s okay if they’re not cooked through yet. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F (175°C).
While eggplant roasts, open the can of tomatoes and use kitchen shears your hands to crush the tomatoes. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium/large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion and cook until it softens, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook another minute. Add tomatoes, oregano, and season with salt. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil then taste the sauce; adjust salt and pepper to taste.
In a 1.5- to 2-quart baking dish, spoon about 1/2 cup of the sauce. Arrange about the half eggplant slices in one layer. Spoon 1/2 cup sauce over the eggplant and spread it evenly. Arrange the remaining eggplant slices and ladle more sauce so it’s as saucy as you like. Sprinkle top with mozzarella and parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until cheese has melted and browned. Let sit for 15 minutes to settle, serve, and enjoy!
This was a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It was pretty good but with a few tweaks it will be excellent. Roasting the eggplant was brilliant, no more gallons of olive oil and mess from frying. I peeled one eggplant and left one with the peel. The one with the peel held its shape better, so going forward, no more peeling eggplant (phew).
I roasted the eggplant one day and made the sauce and assembled it the following day. The sauce is a simple one, but was a little watery, maybe simmer for more than 10 minutes, or use a good jarred sauce.
My oven on convection roasted the eggplant in about 10-15 minutes, without turning and they were almost burnt, so keep an eye on them. It was the same for baking the eggplant parm, very golden brown after 25 minutes.
I added a few blobs of ricotta on top of the first layer of eggplant and sauce, if I had some Italian sausage I’d add them too. With all the cheese on top, there was kind of a big blob of cheese instead of having lots of melted cheese throughout.
Frank poured off some of the excess liquid from the sauce and had the leftovers for lunch the next day. He said it was much better with a thicker sauce and he’s more than happy to try future versions, me too.