If you are Italian, you know that traditional preparation coats the eggplant slices in breadcrumbs and fries them in olive oil before layering with sauce and cheese. While Grandma’s version is delicious, there is a lot of fat.
This version eliminates the ‘frying’ step, instead roasting and concentrating the eggplant flavor and adds low fat cheeses for protein. While not traditional, I love the added ricotta ‘lasagna’ layer. I also prefer to allow the flavor of the eggplant to shine, so I choose to not add too many herbs or spices. Mangia!
- 3 cups pasta sauce - One recipe homemade Tomato Basil Sauce - (see Sauces & Salsa's) or a good brand of jar sauce such as Mario Batali, Gia Russo, or Barilla
- One large or two medium eggplant, nice and firm, about 2 pounds, peeled and cut into ¾ inch rounds
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound part-skim milk ricotta cheese, (Calabro or Polly-O brand are my choices)
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- One, 4-ounce package part-skim mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded
- Preheat broiler. Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or lightly sprayed with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Brush each eggplant slice with a little olive oil, season with salt and broil until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn slices, and broil until slices are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove to cool and reset oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Spread ½ cup of pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish. Arrange a layer of eggplant. Blend ricotta with egg, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper - spread mixture over eggplant in baking dish. Arrange half the mozzarella over the ricotta.
- Place the remaining eggplant slices on top of cheese, layer with the remaining mozzarella, and top dish with enough tomato basil sauce to cover.
- Lightly spray foil with nonstick cooking spray and tightly cover the dish. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until entire dish is bubbling. Remove foil, lower heat to 300 and bake an additional 15 minutes. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
- The flavors blend overnight, and it is even better the following day! Soft squishy Italian Comfort food.