My goal: An eggplant parmesan that’s full of flavor and cheese, but just a bit lightened up. The key is roasting, rather than frying, the eggplant, before layering it.
While you certainly can use store bought tomato sauce, I recommend taking the extra bit of time to do this simple tomato sauce- a slow and low cook develops lots of flavor. Finish this off with a combination of cheeses and a topping of pine nuts (Trust me on it). Perfect for leftovers too!
Roasted Eggplant Parmesan
- 3 small or 2 medium Italian or fairytale eggplants, just over 1 pound- 1 pound 2 ounces, sliced into 1/4’’ thick circles
- 3 cups tomato sauce, see recipe below
- 1 eight ounce ball mozzarella, sliced thinly
- heaping 1/2 cup, (5 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) shredded parmesan
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 14 ounce can whole tomatoes
- 1 28 ounce can tomato puree
Directions for Tomato Sauce:
- Heat a medium saucepot over low to medium heat. Add in olive oil, enough to generously coat bottom of pan.
- Add in onions and saute until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add in salt, garlic and tomato paste and stir to coat onions in tomato paste. Saute until tomato paste is a dark brick red, about 2 minutes.
- Add in tomato puree and whole tomatoes (including the juices). When adding in whole tomatoes, gently squish them so they break down- be careful- they will squirt out juice and ruin whatever you are wearing if you aren’t gentle. Trust me 🙂
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30-35 minutes, until the tomato sauce is thick and flavorful.
Directions for Eggplant Parmesan:
- Preheat oven to 425. Toss eggplant in oil and arrange on baking sheet in an even layer. Bake until golden brown at 425, about 15-20 minutes. Flip halfway through.
- In a 9×9 inch baking pan, layer the eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese in this order three times for 3 layers.1. Tomato sauce (~1 cup/layer)2. Eggplant (1/3 of the total amount/layer)3. Mozarella (1/3 of the sliced mozarella/layer)4. Repeat.
- Top with shredded mozarella and parmesan on top, and lastly the pine nuts.
- Cover and Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, until cheese has melted. Uncover and bake for 15 additional minutes until the cheese is slightly browned- you can broil for a minute or two at the end to help the cheese brown.