Eggplant Parmesan

My daddy was always a wonderful cook growing up, and one of his best dishes was eggplant parmesan. I stole his recipe and made a couple of tweaks, but the essence is the same – and delicious. This dish is very involved, so make sure you have a couple hours to do it right. Your tastebuds will thank you for the effort.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggplants, thinly sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 tsp. ground thyme, plus 1 tsp.
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano, plus 2 Tbs.
  • 2 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, plus 1 tsp.
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 oz each)
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup button or crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 7-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs.+ canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. anise seed
  • 2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded mozzerella
  • 1 lb. thin spaghetti

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. In a separate bowl, stir together bread crumbs, flour, and seasonings. Coat thin slices of eggplant in egg, then dust with bread crumb mixture. Let sit on a wire rack for 15 minutes. This well help the breading stick to it.
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Heat large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
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Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, anise seed, fennel seed, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cover.
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Meanwhile, in a separate skillet over medium-high heat, heat canola oil. Lightly fry the eggplant in batches until golden brown on both sides, then drain on paper towels.
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Now it’s time to assemble the casserole. In a 3 quart casserole dish, ladle 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom. Cover this with fried eggplant, then ladle another 1/3 of sauce on top. Sprinkle with both cheeses. Top this layer with more eggplant, more sauce, and then top with with the rest of the cheese.
IMG_4273Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Broil for 2-5 minutes until cheese is bubbly.
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Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta. Serve eggplant parmesan with the spaghetti. Enjoy!
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