Last week I went to my friend Meg’s house and she taught me how to make eggplant parmesan. Her husband is Italian and this is his grandmother’s recipe. Gotta love stealing an Italian grandma’s recipe! Italians are not the best at using exact measurements, but we did out best to include our best estimates and I took lots of pictures. Eggplant is usually in season between July and October but you can find it year round at grocery stores. Look for a firm and glossy skin. Thanks for the delicious classic Italian recipe Zainos’s!
Zaino’s Eggplant Parmesan
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp. dried basil
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce (Hunt’s)
1 cup italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan reggiano (or you can used romano cheese)
1 lb. penne pasta
Make the sauce: In a saucepan, sauté chopped onion in 2 Tbsp. olive oil, about 5 minutes. Add in the tomato sauce, basil, and sugar. Let simmer while you fry the eggplants. Season with salt and pepper.
Make the eggplant: With a carrot peeler, peel the skin off the eggplant. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch horizontal slices. In a shallow dish pour the bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 cup cheese. In another shallow dish, whisk together 2 eggs with a splash of water. In a large fry pan, heat up 2-3 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. You can add more as needed. Dip the eggplant in the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Carefully add into the frying pan and brown each side, about 2 minutes a side. When brown, transfer to a 9 by 13 baking dish. Repeat until all the eggplant is browned.
Assemble and cook: Line the 9 by 13 with a layer of eggplant. Drizzle tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese. Add another layer of eggplant, sauce, and cheese. Bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted. While in the oven, cook the pasta according to the package and serve on the side. Serves 4-5.