Classic Eggplant Parmigiana - Just Like Mama Used to Make



Homemade eggplant parmigiana takes me back to my childhood, growing up in NJ. There are so many things I love about living in NC, but also lots of things I miss about NJ!  When I was little, this dish was a staple in my family's dinner menu. I loved the way my mom would make her eggplant, and guess what? My mom's not even Italian. She did, however, marry into a huge Italian family (my dad's mother's side of the family), and learned a lot of our family recipes from my grandmother and some other relatives, too.


In my heart of hearts, I feel more connected to the Italian part of my heritage than any other, though German, English, Scottish, and French blood all run through my veins.  Italian cooking was just one of those things I grew up with, and Italian food will always be my go-to cuisine, because it's so easy to change up recipes or create new ones, using what you might have on hand.

Eggplant Parmigiana has been a longtime favorite food of mine. It's also one of my dad's favorite Italian dishes. I happened to make eggplant parm for my family in my uncles' kitchen in NJ, one of the last times we had a family dinner before my grandmother passed away. My Uncle Jim (who is a vegetarian) loved the way I made eggplant parm stacks, which is also the way I prefer to enjoy my eggplant parm.

My hubby, on the other hand, loves fried eggplant with melted cheese, but without the sauce, so I have learned to make my version of eggplant parm very easy to adapt, in order to keep everyone happy.


Classic Eggplant Parmigiana

You Will Need:

2 eggs (beaten)
3 Cups Italian breadcrumbs
1 large eggplant (this will feed 3-4 people)
Olive or Canola Oil
1 Jar of Tomato Basil Sauce
2 Cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese


Directions:

Slice eggplant into thin medallions and then set aside.

In a pie plate prep tray, beat two eggs together.
In a separate prep tray or pie plate, add the breadcrumbs.
Coat each side of the eggplant slices in the egg.
Next, coat each egg covered slice of eggplant in the breadcrumbs.

Heat oil (you can use olive oil or canola oil) to medium heat, and place eggplant into the heated skillet. Fry the eggplant for about 2 minutes per side, or until each side is golden brown and crispy.
Place eggplant onto a plate to let the excess oil drain off.


Your fried eggplant will look something like this! Yum!


To make eggplant parm with no sauce:

Once all of the eggplant slices have been coated and fried, place them onto a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees to ensure eggplant is cooked all the way through. In the last 5 minutes of baking time, top with a mixture of Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and continue baking until the cheese is melted.

Serve eggplant slices overlapping one another, and serve with a pasta of choice, veggies, salad, bread (or whatever else you like).




To make classic eggplant parm:

In a small baking dish, cover the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce. If I don't have time to make homemade red sauce, I like to use either ALDI or Trader Joe's organic tomato basil sauce. They're both very fresh and clean sauces without a lot of acidity or sweetness.

Next, begin making eggplant 'stacks,' placing the largest slices on the bottom, and adding smaller slices as you work your way up... sort of like an eggplant skyscraper. I like to stack three slices, then add a layer of red sauce, followed by a layer of the mixed cheeses, add two more eggplant slices, add sauce, and then top with cheese.

You can also add very al dente cooked pasta around the eggplant in the baking dish. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce while in the oven.

Place the dish into a 375-degree oven and continue baking for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted through and the sauce is warm. 

I don't like my eggplant to become mush, but if that's how you like yours to be, leave the top layer of cheese off, and bake the eggplant for about 15 minutes, adding cheese on the last five minutes of the bake.



Serve your stacks up - one per person, or maybe two, depending on how hungry you are! This is such a delicious and filling meal, and it's pretty guiltless, too. You could easily swap ingredients to make this KETO friendly, and skip the frying process, and bake the eggplant. Just coat it, and give it a light olive oil spray, and bake the slices for 15-18 minutes at 400 degrees. 

This is a great recipe for Meatless Mondays, weeknights, weekends, or to make in large batches for family dinners. Here's a secret- it tastes even better the day after you make it, so it makes for great leftovers!

This classic dish keeps my Italian heart (and tummy) very happy, and brings me 'home' every time I make it. I hope you'll give it a try- even if you're not an eggplant lover... this recipe might just convert you!

Do you like eggplant? Love Italian food? 
I want to hear all about your favorites & whether or not you think you'd want to try this Eggplant Parm! 

Drop me a comment below or over on MBP social media @mommysblckparty on Twitter and IG or @mommysblockparty on Facebook.

Happy cooking!


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