Friday, April 25, 2014

Homemade Eggplant Parm Per Favore

Cooking on the weekdays is always a dilemma, especially after putting in a full day's work.  While I'm always in the mood to whip up something from scratch, it's not always practical, and so I often improvise with what I have in the fridge. This week that ingredient happened to be eggplant.  

Normally, I love trying new recipes, but really what's wrong with going with something classic and simple?  I decided on a plain ol' eggplant parm, but with a more rustic spin that you see here.  Instead of slicing the eggplant thin, as is the norm in most Italian-American restaurants, I cut it thicker, baked it in the oven and then proceeded to layer the rest of the dish.  A generous dose of smoked mozzarella gave this dish a unique flair and helped create a pretty golden crust.  Hope you get to try it out too, and put your own spin on it - substituting eggplant for zucchini, chicken, veal, portabella mushrooms - whatever you like!

Homemade Eggplant Parm

(serves 2)
2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 cups of marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
2 cups of smoked mozzarella cheese
1 handful of fresh basil
Garlic powder

Freshly ground black pepper
Coarse salt (Kosher salt)
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the sliced eggplant on 2 medium sized cookie sheets lined with aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Bake for about 25 minutes, without flipping the eggplant.  One of its sides will naturally brown up, which is OK.

Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Layer the eggplant in a deep, square earthenware dish.  Start with the marinara sauce, then layer in the eggplant and cheese.  Repeat layering in this fashion until you run out of eggplant.  Top with the remainder of the cheese and the fresh basil.

Bake for another 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy with a glass of red wine.  

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