Eggplant Parmigiana

I’ve spent the last few days really reflecting on what it is I want to share with all of you through this blog. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of food bloggers out there. What makes me different from anyone else? I’m not a trained chef. I’m not a gourmet chef. I don’t specialize in gluten free, Paleo, sugar free, vegan, or vegetarian. So, who am I and what gift do I offer you?

As I pondered, I realized I want you to know that you can prepare amazing, nutritious, comforting food in your very own kitchen no matter what your cooking experience, the size of your kitchen, or the tools you have. I want to teach you that you can move outside the bounds of a recipe and make substitutions, find your own pallet and tastes. I want you to realize “convenience” is defined in many different ways. I want you to step outside your comfort zone from time to time and try something that might be more difficult or different. I want to share easy recipes, no fluff recipes, quick recipes, slightly more complex recipes, and fun recipes. I want to share my love of cooking for family and friends.

These same thoughts and feelings go with my other categories here at the Nest. I want you to know you can throw an amazing party, do crafts, and laugh at the hard days! We all have a creative gift inside of us. You may be stronger in one area than another and if that is the case we’ll find ways to make your weaknesses become your strengths! (I’m the Mom who hot glued her son’s merit badges on!)

More than anything, I want your “Nest” to be your very favorite place! I want it to be your family’s favorite place to be. I want to fill your tables with warm, comforting, and inviting meals! I want to help you make memories and bring joy to your day! I want my on-line Nest to be your second home! I hope in some small way I am doing just that.

So with that in mind I want to share my husbands favorite Italian dish! Just a warning… meatless dishes…yeah…not so much in this house! This is my very own interpretation of Eggplant Parmigiana. I realize that generally this dish is meatless. I make mine with a meat sauce BUT…you can make it meatless! (I will always let you know what you can “tweek” that won’t ruin a recipe I’m sharing. I’m also going to tell you how you can make it easier than the way I make it.) 

This is not a hard recipe! It is a little more involved and time consuming but, it is SO worth it! My Eggplant Parmigiana is like no other…even if you don’t like eggplant…you’ll love this!

Let’s start with the sauce. You are going to brown one pound of ground beef. I added a little dried onion flake because I didn’t have a fresh onion. You can do either! There’s a big hit of minced garlic in there too!

Hamburger for Egg Plant

Next, let’s add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce (gotta love those cans of tomatoes…keep’em coming!), water, sugar, spices and garlic.

Sauce for Egg Plant

Mix that all together, cover and let simmer about 45 minutes. Now, if you don’t want to hassle with making your own sauce crack open a bottle of store bought sauce and mix it together with your meat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes OR don’t add meat and just have a couple of bottles of your favorite sauce ready to go! (I’m easy like that!)

Let’s get started on the eggplant. I love eggplant! I get so excited when I start seeing rich deep purple in the markets this time of year! I think it’s one of those veggies people are scared of but, don’t be! They are our friends!

Egg Plant

You are going to use a knife to trim the purple skin off the eggplant! Why? Because I don’t like it and it’s bitter! (This is all about me right? lol) I realize most chef’s leave it on for the color and I’m sure it has a million nutrients in it but, I don’t like it. So…off it goes! (It’s not like this a low fat dish…it’s a cardiologist nightmare!)  I also don’t believe in “sweating” the eggplant. (Frankly, I’m a little sick of all the sweating going on around here right now! lol) That’s just one step we can toss aside. Now, slice it into 1/4 inch slices like so…

Egg Plant sliced

Next you are going to place a big fry skillet on your stove top and get that heating up with some oil. (Where does a fry pan with hot oil go? It goes on the back of the range so that little hands won’t reach up and grab it causing a horrible horrific accident! Please…with sugar on top!)

We are going to take our eggs and crack them into a shallow pie plate. Whip them up and add a tablespoon of water and whip again. Place your seasoned bread crumbs in another pie plate or shallow dish. First dip the eggplant into the egg wash and then into the crumbs. Making sure both sides are well coated.

Egg Wash

Next you will carefully place them in the oil in your large fry pan. They will cook fairly quickly and should be tender when poked with a fork. Turn them as they begin to turn a golden brown. Once they are done cooking, place them on a paper towel lined plate so that the excess oil can drain off. Aren’t they beautiful?!

Fried Egg Plant

Your meat sauce should be done by now and the house should smell like little Italy! Your welcome! (hee, hee)

Meat Sauce for Egg Plant

Now, it’s time to put it all together. You are going to want your grated mozzarella cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, and your Ricotta cheese handy dandy and ready to go! Place a layer of your breaded eggplant in the bottom of a casserole dish. You can cut some of the pieces up to fit into the bare spots. (A stray piece may end up in your mouth! Whatever works!)

Egg Plant in Casserole Dish

Next drop the Ricotta cheese by the spoonful on top of the eggplant. Then sprinkle with Parmesan and a layer of mozzarella cheese.

Cheese for Egg Plant

Next spoon a layer of sauce on top of the cheese’s. Now you are going to repeat the entire process again. Layer of Eggplant, then ricotta, then Parmesan, mozzarella, and then sauce. Finish with another sprinkling of mozzarella. (Yes, I realize there is no picture of that final step…I got excited about eating it! Pictures were not on my mind…sorry! Epic fail!)

Sauce for Egg Plant Parmesan

Pop it into the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees until the cheese is bubbly and melted! If you want your cheese a little brown place it under the broiler for a few minutes but, be sure to watch it!

Egg Plant with cheese

I like to cut mine into squares. It makes serving easier.Parmigana

The layers of breaded eggplant with the cheese and meat sauce is just out of this world! This is not something that is on the “weekly” menu planner, for calorie and cost sake, but it is straight up comfort food full of rich robust flavor. The eggplant is never bitter and it is never watery. It’s just down right delicious! It’s one of those “special” dishes that brings family together! I serve mine with cheesy garlic bread (We are already off the cheese scale here so we might as well keep on going!) and a nice healthy green salad to wash all the guilt down with!

The printable recipe is down below for ya’ll. I hope you love this dish as much as we do. Is it possible not to love? (wink, wink) Thanks for popping by!

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Eggplant Parmigiana
Eggplant Parmigiana
Norine Rogers

This is an amazing flavorful Eggplant Parmigiana with a rich robust meat sauce, Ricotta cheese, Parmesan Cheese, and Mozzarella Cheese!


    Sauce
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced onion or 2 tablespoons of dried onion flakes
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1- 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1- 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon each of basil, oregano, and crushed rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon dried or fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    Eggplant
  • 2 egg plants,cut off top and bottom, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Oil for frying
    Additional Toppings
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup Ricotta Cheese

    Sauce
  1. In a large deep skillet brown the grown beef with the onions and minced cloves of garlic. Drain off any excess fat. Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, stirring periodically.
    Eggplant
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil. (Be sure to place pan on the back burner!)
  2. Peel and slice eggplant
  3. In a shallow dish or pie plate, crack the eggs and whisk till fluffy. Add in 3 Tablespoons of water and whisk again.
  4. In another shallow dish mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and pepper.
  5. Dip eggplant into the egg wash and then dip into the bread crumbs being sure all sides are coated.
  6. Place sliced, coated eggplant into the frying pan. Cook until light golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side. Once cooked, remove and place on dish covered with a paper towel to drain off any excess oil.
  7. Cook remaining eggplant till it is all cooked.
    Bringing it all together
  1. Spray a casserole dish with Pam non-stick cooking spray. Starting on the bottom, place a layer of the breaded fried eggplant. You can cut a few up to fill in the empty spots. Place a large tablespoon of ricotta cheese on each large piece of eggplant. Then sprinkle with a layer of Parmesan cheese and a layer of Mozzarella Cheese. Next spoon a layer of meat sauce on top. Repeat the layers again...eggplant, ricotta, Parmesan, Mozzarella and Meat Sauce. Top with a sprinkling of mozzarella and place in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until cheese and sauce are bubbling. You can put the dish in the broiler for 3-5 minutes to brown the cheese if desired. Just keep a close eye on it. Cut into squares and serve.

This is a very flexible recipe. If you don't want to make a meat sauce you can just use 2 jars of your favorite store bought sauce or make the sauce above without using the meat. You could also brown the meat and add canned sauce to cut down on time. You also can leave out the Ricotta Cheese if you don't like it.

Prep Time: 60 minutes - Cook Time: 45 minutes ; Yield: 8 servings
Serving Size: 1 sqaure
http://www.norinesnest.com/eggplant-parmigiana/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. Carrie | 20th Jul 16

    This is awesome. I have made this dish before and it was a watery, soupy, bitter mess. I said I would never, ever make it again. I didn’t fry my pieces and I kept the skin on. Chris has asked me to make this in the past, so I’ll have to give this one a whirl. As always, thanks for sharing!

    • norine@norinesnest.com | 20th Jul 16

      Carrie you are so welcome! I really appreciate your comments..so much! Thank You! I promise this won’t be watery or bitter! Chris will absolutely love this recipe and so will you! Thanks for popping by! 🙂

  2. Tracy | 23rd Jul 16

    I am kind of embarrassed (ok – really embarrassed) to admit that I don’t think I have ever even tried eggplant! I know! Crazy – huh? This looks really good and something Amy and I would LOVE! Since I know nothing about eggplants – what do I look for when I buy two for this recipe?

    • norine@norinesnest.com | 24th Jul 16

      Hi Tracy! You want to look for eggplant with a deep purple color that covers the entire vegetable. Light purple spots means it is too green. When you gently squeeze it they should be firm but, not mushy! Also look out for brown spots. This means the eggplant is too ripe or it is beginning to rot. Hope this helps you out! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and I think you guys will love this recipe!

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