Hello Friends! I have to admit my family is NOT CRAZY about eggplant.
But I totally won them over with this classic northern Italian recipe! By layering the eggplant with parmesan and a simple tomato sauce, you get an ABSOLUTELY SCRUMPTIOUS vegetable dish. This recipe can be served as an entree, over pasta or as a side dish for meat or fish.
There are lots of health benefits to eating eggplant too!
3 medium-large eggplants, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Peeled
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
8-ounce can no-salt plum tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or as needed
⅓ cup fine dry bread crumbs (I didn’t use)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with oil, and place in a single layer on two or more baking sheets. Bake until undersides are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, then turn and bake until other sides are lightly browned. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and add onion. Sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and dried oregano and sauté another 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and their juices, breaking up whole tomatoes with your hands. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
Add vinegar, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Into a 9-by-9-inch, 10-by-5-inch or 10-by-6-inch baking pan, spoon a small amount of tomato sauce, then add a thin scattering of parmigiano, then a single layer of eggplant. Repeat until all ingredients are used, ending with a little sauce and a sprinkling of parmigiano. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and oregano, if using, with just enough olive oil to moisten. Sprinkle on top. If desired, recipe can be made to this point and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Bake until eggplant mixture is bubbly and center is hot, 30 to 45 minutes depending on size of pan and thickness of layers. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Recipe can also be reheated.