Eggplant Parmigiano (Italyan Usulu Parmesanli Patlican)
2 eggplants, about 1 lb
2 cups basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
1 bunch fresh basil leaves
½ lb fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted under broiler
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 250 C. Oil a baking sheet with the extra-virgin olive oil.
Slice each eggplant into pieces about 1 inch thick. Lightly season each disk with salt and pepper and place on the oiled sheet. Bake the eggplant until the slices begin turning deep brown on top, about 12-14 minutes. Remove the slices from the baking sheet and place them on a plate to cool.
Lower oven temperature to 200 C. In an 8 by 12-inch Pyrex dish, place the largest eggplant slices evenly spaced apart. Over each slice, spread 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and sprinkle with a teaspoon of basil. Place one slice of mozzarella over each and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated Parmigiano. Place the smaller slices of eggplant over each of the disks and repeat with tomato sauce, basil, and the 2 cheeses. Repeat the layering, until all the ingredients are used.
Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the top of the eggplant dish, and bake uncovered until the cheese is melts and the tops turn light brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve over pasta if desired.
Basic tomato sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp fresh thyme/basil leaves, chopped (1 Tbsp dried)
½ carrot, finely grated
3-4 cups tomatoes, crushed
1 tsp salt to taste
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the thyme/basil and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve.
P.S: This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
By Hayriye Cetin Karaca ( www.turkishfoodandrecipes.com )