A few years ago my husband bought me a giant Italian cookbook for Christmas. And by giant, I mean it has over 1000 pages! But the best part is that the authors went into local villages throughout the entire country and collected recipes from nonna’s (grandma’s) kitchen, which they then translated into English so we could all reap the benefits of homemade recipes.
I’ve slowly worked my way through various pasta dishes, breads, and desserts. When I was in the mood for something with melanzane (eggplant), I knew that this catalog would provide the inspiration I needed. It bears not one, but 3 different eggplant parmesan recipes (among a slew of other eggplant recipes that had me drooling…I bookmarked them for another time).
I opted for the Sicilian variety, since my ancestors hail from that island. I suppose this should be titled Authentic Sicilian Eggplant Parmesan, but I’m assuming that most people look for Italian recipes instead of Sicilian ones.
As usual for my style, I didn’t quite follow the recipe exactly. Can anybody else relate? It’s to your advantage, because I can share with your my insider secrets into the best almost-Italian eggplant parmesan that you will ever taste.
It’s rich with plenty of gooey cheese. It’s filled with perfectly browned eggplant slices that ooze with the flavors of olive oil. It’s combined with a perfectly balanced garlic and onion tomato sauce. The flavors blend unbelievable well during the baking process, presenting your dinner plate with a pristine display of fine Italian cuisine.
Authentic Italian Eggplant Parmesan
Dazzle the people at your dinner table with this authentic Italian dish that is radiant with the melded flavors of eggplant, olive oil, onions, garlic and tomatoes.
- 2 medium eggplants
- 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)
- 2 cans of tomato puree
- 1 brick of mozzarella cheese (8oz)
- 1 brick of parmesan cheese (4-6oz)
- ½ Tbsp oregano
- ½ Tbsp basil
- ½ Tbsp parsley
- ½-1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Peel the eggplants and chop off the ends. Slice lengthwise to about ⅛ of an inch thick.
Generously salt the eggplant slices and allow to sit in a colander for 30 minutes. (This removes the bitter taste and the excess moisture.)
Preheat oven to 400F.
Heat 2-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Once heated, place eggplant slices into the skillet and cook until the bottom is browned, roughly 3-5 minutes. Turn over and repeat until the other side is browned. Drain on a paper towel.
Add more extra virgin olive oil to the pan and repeat until all of the eggplant slices have browned.
Meanwhile, in another skillet, saute the chopped onion on medium heat until translucent. Then add in the minced garlic and saute for another 3 minutes.
Add in the drained diced tomatoes, tomato puree and herbs to the skillet with the onion and garlic. Allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes, or until the eggplant slices have finished browning.
Cover the bottom of an 8×8 glass dish with the tomato sauce.
Next place a layer of eggplant slices, then mozzarella cheese, then parmesan cheese. Repeat these layers until all ingredients are gone.
Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes at 400F, until bubbling and the cheese is fully melted.
Note: you can use as much or as little cheese as you like! I used about 8oz of mozzarella and 4 oz of parmesan.
Pairs well with a side salad or fresh bread.