Print This Recipe Written by Chacha on Jul 8th, 2012 in Casserole, Cheese, Eggplant, Meatless Main Dish, Recipe, Rice, Side Dishes | No Comments

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced in ¼- inch rounds *
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • Extra-virgin olive oil to brown eggplant slices
  • 1 cup long-grain rice, cooked, (preferably not converted)
  • 2 cups simple tomato sauce, recipe follows
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano chesse

* Store-bought eggplants can be bitter, prior to dusting the slices with flour, you may want to sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and let stand for 30 minutes to shed a good bit of the bitterness. (I skipped this step when the eggplant is firm.) To avoid bitter eggplants, when selecting the eggplants at the market, feel them to be sure they are firm. If they feel soft, it means they are full of seeds, which is not desirable.

Directions

For the simple tomato sauce:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can good crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • About 4 drops hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup good dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup good homemade chicken broth
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian or Mexican oregano leaves, crumbled

In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minute. Add remaining ingredients. Cover, lower heat and let simmer 30 minutes.

While tomato sauce is simmering, heat a generous 1/2 cup of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter a 2 1/2-quarter casserole. Set aside.

Seasoned eggplant slices well with salt and pepper. Dredge eggplant slices with flour and shake off excess. Add as many eggplant pieces as you can comfortably fit in a single layer in hot oil. Cook quickly, turning, until the eggplant is nice and browned; crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Transfer to paper toweling.

Line bottom of prepared casserole with half the rice. Cover rice with half fried eggplant slices. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the eggplant. Pour half of the tomato sauce over all to cover. Repeat layer, except for the mozzarella cheese. Place remaining mozzarella over sauce. Bake casserole 30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

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