The Virgin Stove

Making everything for the first time

Eggplant Parmigiana Stacks

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.

Eggplant Parmigiana
Based on Mario Batali’s recipe from the Food Network

Makes 6 stacks

Sauce:
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
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Eggplants:
2 large eggplants, sliced into discs
2 eggs
1/3 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

For assembly:
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  • Before cooking, prep all the vegetables. Do your mincing, chopping, and slicing prior to doing anything else.
  • Prepare the sauce. Over medium heat, saute garlic in extra virgin olive oil until fragrant but don’t let it brown. Add chopped onions and cook until translucent. Add the beef and stir until cooked. Add the butter and the tomatoes, bring to a boil and cook for two minutes. Add the jar of pasta sauce and bring to a boil. Drop in the shredded basil. Stir in the sugar, salt and pepper then remove from heat.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. While waiting for the sauce to boil, prepare the eggplant slices. Whisk the eggs in a bowl. On a separate plate, combine wheat flour, salt and pepper. Quickly dip each slice of eggplant in the egg and coat thinly with the wheat flour mixture. Lay the slices on a tray and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven off but do not take the tray out yet. Turn the broiler on to high for two minutes or until you can see the flour batter browning slightly. Remove tray.
  • As soon as both the sauce and the eggplants are ready, start assembling your stacks. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In an 8″x12″ pan, make six wells of the sauce as a “bed” for your stacks. Starting with the largest eggplant discs, layer the ingredients in this order: eggplants, sauce, mozzarella and parmesan. For each layer, use around 1 heaping tablespoon of sauce, 1 teaspoon of mozzarella cheese and 1 teaspoon of parmesan cheese. When you’re done, you should have 6 stacks with 4 layers each.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese melts and slight browning is visible on the top.
  • Serve immediately with a side of spaghetti or linguine topped with the leftover sauce.

[print recipe]

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11 responses to “Eggplant Parmigiana Stacks

  1. shersagnit 25 July 2012 at 3:24 am

    galing.. matry nga hehehe

  2. Bam's Kitchen 26 July 2012 at 12:16 am

    Loving your cheesy towers of goodness!

  3. Karen 28 July 2012 at 8:04 am

    You did a terrific job with your eggplant stacks.

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  6. Markus Hanners 13 January 2013 at 4:09 am

    what i want about eggplant is its distinctive yummy taste which is great in combination with soy sauce and fried eggs.:

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