Zaino’s Eggplant Parmesan

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

olive oil

1/2 tsp sugar

2 Tbsp. dried basil

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce (Hunt’s)

2 eggplants

1 cup italian style bread crumbs

1/2 cup parmesan reggiano (or you can used romano cheese)

2 eggs

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.

Crispy eggplant served with a quick and simple tomato sauce makes a complete family meal.

Crispy eggplant served with a quick and simple tomato sauce over penne pasta makes a complete family meal.

Eggplants should be fir my with shiny skin when choosing at the grocery store.

Look for eggplants that are firm with shiny skin when choosing at the grocery store.

When frying, do not over-crowd the skillet. Use a paper towel to wipe out the  skillet in between rounds of frying if the oil starts to burn.

When frying, do not over-crowd the skillet. Use a paper towel to wipe out the skillet in between rounds of frying if the oil starts to burn.

The stars of the Mom & Tot gymnastics class. Luke Zaino, Davey Terhune, Maya, and Georgia.

The stars of the Mom & Tot gymnastics class. Luke Zaino, Davey Terhune, Maya, and Georgia. Luke Zaino has some great recipes from  his grandma he can use when he cooks to impress his future girlfriends!

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

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  229. Fredo Reply

    About time you posted something…….must have been ordering a lot of Domino’s the last month.

    • katie Reply

      Well it’s no fun cooking for a dad who eats no sugar, carbs, or gluten. #lame.