Surprisingly enough, I am still keeping up with cooking my way through the Giada cookbook (I’ll post on that sometime soon … probably). However, when we found beautiful tiny eggplants at our favorite fruit and veg stand, we couldn’t resist picking them up. This is a little strange, because up until recently, I have hated eggplant. I’m coming around to it slowly, and I think Nick was a little shocked when I suggested eggplant parm for dinner. Having never made the dish before, I did some Pinteresting to find a good starting point, but went completely off the script of anything that I found.
Eggplant Parm Bake
Makes 3-4 servings, depending on the hungriness of the hubby.
- 2 Grenada-sized eggplants (ours here are smaller and skinny, this would probably be 1 regular eggplant at home), peeled and sliced into 1/2″ thick medallions.
- Salt and pepper
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c cornmeal
- 1/4 c parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 2 tbsp evoo
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large can crushed tomatoes
- 1 – 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
- Pinch brown sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lb linguini, cooked to al dente
- 1/4 c parmesan
- 1 c mozzarella
- In a colander, toss the eggplant with a teaspoon of salt and let sit for an hour. This will help reduce the slimy mouth feel of the eggplant, and reduce some bitterness. When finished, rinse well under cold running water and pat dry.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375. Prepare a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk an egg with a tablespoon of cold water. In another medium bowl, mix 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cornmeal, parmesan, and basil.
- Working in batches (of about a handful), toss the eggplant first in the egg mixture, then in the breading mixture, tossing to coat. Spread the breaded medallions out on the baking sheet as you go.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the eggplant), flipping halfway through. Be careful not to overcook; they go from good to incinerated on the inside in a matter of minutes.
- While the eggplant is baking, prepare the pasta and sauce.
- In a deep saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook one minute more.
- Add the tomatoes, basil, balsamic, and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a deep baking dish mix the cooked pasta and 1/3 of the prepared sauce (I used a round one that we have. It’s about the size of an 8×8 pan (but round, obvi), but about double the depth).
- Top pasta with a layer of sauce (1/3). Sprinkle with parmesan.
- Top sauce layer with eggplant. Sprinkle with parmesan. Top with remaining sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan.
- Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melty and golden.