The Newbie Cook
- 18,438 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
I have never made eggplant parmigiana before. But I suppose you already know that because *points up* of the name of this blog. My husband grew up with a grumpy Nonna that cooked consistently perfect Italian food.
So I am more than a little anxious.
Thank God there’s Mario Batali, Food Network, and a surplus of cherry tomatoes from the garden. And, last but not the least, Francesco Rinaldi Three Cheese pasta sauce because it is okay to take shortcuts if you’re dying of hunger and have less than an hour to cook. (*&^%#! I sound like a f*&%#@g ad.) For pre-made pasta sauce, FR is quite good but it will need some jazzing up. My recipe for red pasta sauce from scratch takes forever to simmer just to get the flavor right.
This is not exactly a super-traditional eggplant parmigiana. I may have based it on a famous chef’s recipe but I can’t resist butchering things up and adding stuff according to what I like. For instance, I used wheat flour instead of breadcrumbs. And then I baked the eggplants instead of frying them. (Batali recommended baking as well but the more common method is frying.) Plus I added a touch of ground beef. The latter is not required but I needed a little protein to put some meat in my husband’s bones and it did enhance the flavor of the sauce. If you want a vegetarian dish, just skip the meat entirely.
Here are my stacks before baking.
… and after.
I have a bad habit of forgetting to taste my cooking before serving so I handed Chris his plate before I filled mine. The first thing I heard was “Yum!” I suppose it is safe to say that I passed.
Personally, I do not think the photos of my stacks look as appetizing as they do in real life. But with regards to taste… it was ever so slightly crispy on the outside, very soft inside, and heartwarmingly savory as a whole. This is definitely comfort food and is best served with a side of spaghetti or linguine.
Based on Mario Batali’s recipe from the Food Network
Makes 6 stacks
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
1/3 cup ground meat (beef or turkey)
2 tablespoons butter
a handful of cherry tomatoes or one large tomato, chopped coarsely
1 24oz jar of Francesco Rinaldi Three Cheese pasta sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 sprigs of basil, shredded
fresh ground pepper
2 large eggplants, sliced into discs
1/3 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese