I absolutely LOVE Italian food and now that I have married my very own Italian Stallion I am officially an Italian housewife! The bar has been set high by my husbands grandmother who came to America as a 12 year old from Salerno, Italy and by his aunt that learned everything there is to know about authentic Italian cooking from his grandmother! I have really been trying to hone my skills and perfect my sauces. I'm happy that I have great cooks on both sides of my family and that I can help carry on that legacy by continuing to make distinctive and enjoyable dishes.
I still have a lot to learn and I can't wait to make my own pasta from scratch but my kitchen is one that will never see a pre-made sauce and I stay away from excessive amounts of cheeses and oils. Just because it's delicious and comforting doesn't mean it has to be heavy in fat and unhealthy!
Having never cooked with eggplant or even eaten it, this recipe took a few tries to perfect but found a way to make it super easy and I am confident that even the novice cook can accomplish it. I have learned that cooking with eggplant takes a little bit of preparation so allow at least two hours for the eggplant to rest before cooking.
The texture of the panko crumbs mixed with fine ground bread crumbs give it a little bit of extra crunch. Angel hair pasta is a great accompaniment with it's super-fine light mouth feel accentuating the textures of the eggplant rather than overpowering it. This easy and delicious eggplant parmigiana is sure to please!
1 large eggplant
2 cups milk
1 cup flour
1 cup panko crumbs
1 cup bread crumbs (plain)
1 T. granulated garlic
1 T. parsley
1 T. Paprika
2 t. pepper
2 T. olive oil
Basic Marinara (recipe to follow)
Feta or Mozzarella cheese
Angel Hair Pasta
- Prepare the eggplant at least 2 hours in advance by slicing about 3/4-1 inch thick. Line a baking sheet with paper towels, arrange the sliced eggplant in a single layer and lightly salt both sides. Cover with another layer of paper towels. The salt will pull the excess moisture from the eggplant and the paper towels will absorb it.
- You will need 3 shallow dishes such as pie or cake pans, one for the milk, one for the flour and one for the bread crumb mixture.
- Combine the panko crumbs, bread crumbs, granulated garlic, parsley, paprika and pepper in one of the shallow dishes. Mix together by hand to combine the ingredients evenly.
- Pour the 2 cups of milk in another shallow dish.
- Place the flour in the last shallow dish and add some salt and pepper and mix together.
- Start an assembly line beginning with the flour and ending with the bread crumbs and line a baking sheet with wax paper.
- Dredge the eggplant in the flour mixture
- Dip both sides in the milk
- Dredge both sides in the bread crumb mixture making sure to press down firmly and coat completely.
- Set aside on the wax paper lined baking sheet and repeat this process with each piece of eggplant.
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Heat olive oil in a medium to large sauté pan on medium/high heat.
- Once the oil is heated through add the eggplant making sure not to crowd the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes per side. Once browned transfer back to the wax paper lined baking sheet.
- Continue until all of the eggplant is browned adding olive oil to the pan as needed.
- Place in the oven for 30 minutes while you prepare the sauce and place water on the
stove to boil for the pasta.
- Once the sauce is prepared spoon sauce over each of the eggplant slices, top with your choice of cheese and place back in the oven for 15 minutes. Add the pasta to the boiling water during these last fifteen minutes and follow package instructions for cook time.
- After the pasta has finished combine with the remaining sauce in a large bowl until ready to serve.
1 T. olive oil
1 onion diced
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 t. salt
1 T. Italian seasoning ( I use Tone's "No Salt Added" version ---->)
1 T. granulated garlic
3/4 cup red wine (use a wine that you would drink)
1 can diced tomatoes (I like to buy the "no sodium added" version)
1 large can tomato sauce
1 T. honey
1 T. sugar (if using San Marzano tomatoes the sugar can be omitted)
- Heat a large sauce pan or sauté pan to medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Add onions and saute with a pinch of salt until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for an additional minute or so.
- Add the salt, italian seasoning and granulated garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Turn heat up to medium-high stirring constantly.
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine by simply pouring it in and scraping anything sticking to the pan into the sauce with your spatula or spoon. Cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat back to medium.
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, honey and sugar stir until combined. Add salt and granulated garlic to taste and warm through. If the sauce is bitter you can add a bit more sugar or honey to taste as well.
- Cook for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to marry together.
Food is Love and I love Food!