No matter how steaming hot summer days can get, nothing honors the queen of summer, eggplant, like a homemade tray of Melanzane alla Parmigiana. YES, we do fry in real extra virgin olive oil and YES, we do make our tomato sauce with San Marzano tomatoes!
SERVES: 6-8 people
TIME: 3 hours
Eggplant (1.3 kg/3 lbs), cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices
San Marzano tomatoes (800 g/28 oz)
Mozzarella or Scamorza cheese (500 g/1.1 lbs), diced
Vacche Rosse Cheese (500 g/3.5 oz), grated
Garlic (one clove)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (500 ml/2 cups)
Coarse Sea Salt
- Sprinkle the eggplant slices with a little coarse sea salt and arrange them in layers inside a colander for about 1 hour. Quickly rinse the eggplants and pat dry with paper towels.
- Lightly crush the garlic and sauté it in a saucepan with EVOO for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, break them up with a wooden spoon, adjust with sea salt, and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
- In a large cast iron skillet or pot, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes, remove from the oil and place on a tray lined with paper towels, separating each layer of fried eggplant with more paper towels. Let them cool down completely.
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
- In a baking pan (about 8×10 inches), pour a thin layer of tomato sauce, arrange a layer of eggplant slices, add diced cheese, sprinkle Vacche Rosse Cheese, and top with a few basil leaves. Continue layering tomato sauce, eggplant, cheese, and basil to fill the baking dish. Finish by coating the last layer with plenty of grated Vacche Rosse Cheese.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the grated cheese has broiled to form a thin crust.
- Let it rest for about 10 minutes and serve.