I spent quite a bit of time making homemade tomato sauce, boiling pasta, breading and frying eggplant--it was really a beautiful dish in the end. And I served it with salad and garlic bread cheerfully to my husband who wouldn't even take one bite. He reminded me that he has stated before that he doesn't like eggplant. My forty year old brain forgot this little detail. Apparently, he feels about eggplant how I feel about raisins--that they come from the devil--so I wasn't too upset.
Oopsie doodle! Wife fail.
So, I whipped him up some sloppy joes straight from the can, because I really know how to bring it to the I-screwed-up-but-here-let-me-fix-everything-right-quick department, and I ate my meal of eggplant parmesan. But I really felt like it need to be shared, so I gave the rest of it to my daughter and her husband. They ate it the next night and they liked it so much that my son-in-law actually messaged me with the ultimate compliment, "That eggplant stuff is fine!"
So if you like eggplant, you will like this. And if you don't? Well, then you probably won't. I followed this recipe from The Southern Living Ultimate Cookbook, but had to make some changes because I had some issues with some of the measurements.
A few notes:
-I love the sauce, especially using fire roasted tomatoes. To begin with, the sauce looked very, very watery. I was worried. But if you'll look at the picture below, you'll see the line where the sauce originally filled the skillet to. It reduced by well over half, so go ahead and add the full amount of water.
-I had plenty of sauce left for another meal. I will do Chicken Parmesan soon, so my husband can eat with me. By the way, the sauce is supposed to freeze well. We shall see.
-I wanted to serve this over spaghetti noodles , but I only had vermicelli. I so need to go grocery shopping soon.
-The original recipe (the one in the cookbook that I followed, not the online one) calls for two large eggplants. I am not sure how they fit all of that into an 11 x 7-inch dish, which is what the recipe called for. I had one large fresh eggplant and I had thawed out some that I had frozen. I fried it all up, but I could not fit it all in. The pan was very, very full. One eggplant should do ya.
-Place your pan on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over.
-DO NOT forget to salt the eggplant when you're done frying. Talk about bland if you don't! Blech!
-The dished above could really have benefited from a sprig of basil or parsley. Like I said, I need to go grocery shopping in the worst way.
Eggplant Parmesan with Fire Roasted Pasta Sauce
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
Canola oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
3 cups fire roasted pasta sauce, recipe below
Whisk together the eggs and water in a pie plate. Combine the breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup parmesan in another pie plate. Coat the bottom of a heavy skillet with canola oil and heat over medium high heat. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture, then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Cook eggplant until golden brown, about four minutes, turning once. Place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil; season with salt and pepper. Add more oil between fryings.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place eggplant slices in a single layer on the bottom of baking dish, cutting to fit if necessary. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the parmesan and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers twice, ending with cheese. Spoon 3 cups tomato sauce over the top; cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake for ten more minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly, placing under the broiler if desired for golden brown color. Let stand for 20 minutes before cutting and serving over spaghetti noodles or other pasta.
Fire Roasted Pasta Sauce
Extra virgin olive oil, to coat pan
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14-ounce) cans fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
4 cups water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Coat the bottom of a large high sided skillet with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until tender, stirring often. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, stirring often. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until mixture is reduced by half. Approximately 6-7 cups.