This is the lowdown – eggplant slices are coated in cornflake crumbs & cooked until golden brown then layered with a spicy chunky tomato sauce, pesto, provolone cheese, fresh mozza & parmesan then baked until the cheese is melted & gooey. Angels sang when I took my first bite.
These pretty graffiti eggplants were not only the perfect size for fitting in the baking dish but they have fewer seeds & a thinner skin the average dark-skinned eggplant. Use what eggplant variety is available. But remember – eggplants might be one of the very few exceptions where smaller is better. Smaller = less seeds. Less seeds = less bitter & overall better.
For the crunchy coating, I used cornflake crumbs. I make my own but you can buy them in most supermarkets. They’re really crispy when cooked & gluten-free.
The tomato sauce was so easy, just a simple chunky tomato sauce. Although there are a few components of this recipe, ie., not the sort of thing you’d throw together for a quick meal, each part of the recipe is straight-forward.
I made my own pesto because it’s infinitely better than pesto from a jar but that’s your call. If you want to make your own here is my favorite recipe for pesto. It’s mine…of course!
Then it’s a matter of layering the spicy tomato sauce, eggplant, three different cheese (because why not?!) & pesto. Into the oven she goes for about 30 minutes while you languish on the couch with a glass of vino. Screw the mess in the kitchen!
This recipe will feed 8 to 10 people. Perfect if you’re entertaining or feeding a larger family. Or in our case, eating leftovers for lunch for the next three days. I made a simple garden salad to serve with it & dressed it in balsamic & olive oil. Although a little more laborious than most recipes I create, this was worth every dirty dish & spoon. And honestly, I felt rather pleased with myself because it really was very good – all modesty aside of course. Until next time, cheers, Lovoni xo
- CHUNKY TOMATO SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoons crushed red peppers (chili flakes)
- 3 x (14oz/398ml) cans whole peeled tomatoes
- pinch sugar
- pinch salt & freshly ground pepper
- EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA
- 3 medium (28oz/805g) eggplants, trimmed
- 2/3 cup white rice flour
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups cornflake crumbs
- olive oil
- 1 cup pesto
- 1 lb (453g) fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 12 slices provolone cheese
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese
- basil leaves & extra pesto, to serve
- For the tomato sauce: Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion & cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are softened. Add garlic & cook 1 to 2 minutes until garlic is softened. Stir in tomato paste & crushed pepper. Add tomatoes & their juice. Break the tomatoes into chunks using a spoon. Add sugar, salt & pepper. Simmer, uncovered 5 to 8 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
- For the eggplant: Grease a 9 x 13-inch (22 x 33cm) baking pan. Preheat oven to 350° (180°).
- Cut eggplant lengthways into 1/4-inch (6mm) thickness.
- Place rice flour in a shallow dish; season with salt & pepper. Toss the eggplant slices in flour, dip in the egg, cornflake crumbs.
- Cover bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil & heat over medium heat. Cook eggplant in batches for about 3 minutes each side or until golden brown; transfer cooked eggplant to a wire rack (this helps keep it crisp).
- Spoon one-third of the tomato sauce into baking dish & spread to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant over sauce. Spread with half the pesto. Arrange one-third of mozzarella, half the provolone slices and one-third of the parmesan over the pesto. Add half the remaining sauce mixture, another layer of eggplant, then remaining pesto, half the mozzarella, remaining provolone & half the parmesan. Spread remaining sauce over cheese layer. Top with remaining eggplant, remaining mozzarella & parmesan. Cook, uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until browned & bubbling.
- Top with basil leaves & extra pesto if desired. Serves 10.