Thanks to BettyAnn for this lovely recipe suggestion from LICKMYSPOON.COM
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 lbs eggplant (about 4 Japanese eggplants; I prefer Japanese eggplant to Italian because they have a thinner skin and have never let me down with their sweet flavor and silky texture.)
- (2) 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 5 teaspoons minced garlic (about 5 cloves), reserve 2 for topping
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup + 1/4 cup grated parmigiano
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment with olive oil.
- Cut the eggplant into Â¼-inch slices and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Flip the slices over and repeat, so now both sides of the eggplant are oiled and salted. Roast until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes, flipping the eggplant halfway through. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool while you prepare the remainder of the ingredients. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F.
- In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with 3 teaspoons of the garlic over medium heat. Let cook until the garlic is fragrant and starting to toast. Add the tomatoes to the pan and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then add the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1 cup of parmigiano, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Assemble the Eggplant Parm: spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, followed by half of the roasted eggplant, 1 cup more tomato sauce, half of the ricotta mixture and half of the mozzarella. Repeat: eggplant, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons garlic, 1/4 cup parmigiano and panko. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the filling is bubbling, take the casserole out of the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle the panko mixture evenly over the top. Continue baking, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown and crisp, about 20-25 more minutes. If the topping is not browning, drizzle a little olive oil over the top and place under the broiler (keep an eye on it, it’ll brown quickly under there). Let cool 10 minutes before serving.