Prep 25 mins
Cook 45 mins
I've called this recipe Budget Eggplant (Aubergine) Parmigiana not because it skimps on ingredients but first because I already have another eggplant parmigiana recipe posted - Eggplant (Aubergine) Parmigiana; and secondly, when I compare the two, this one would certainly be less expensive to make. If you wanted to stretch this recipe further, you also could add a fourth layer of lasagne sheets. If I were to add lasagne sheets, I'd also be inclined to add a thin layer of ricotta immediately on top of each layer of the lasagna sheets or, even better, some ricotta mixed with cooked (well-drained) spinach. I'd recommend still having the final layer as the mixed cheeses and oregano. That means including this fourth layer only twice - and not on top! The Zaar Kitchen Dictionary has some excellent advice on choosing eggplants: "Look for smooth, shiny skin with a firm but slightly springy texture" and suggests using the eggplant within a day or two of purchasing it. This is important for this recipe as some of the skin is left on the eggplant. And don't discard the skin peelings from your eggplants: save them in a freezer bag with all your vegetable peelings and stalks for use in my Vegetable Stock, the ultimate budget recipe! This is the fourth recipe I've adapted and posted here from a recipe I found in 'The Australian Women's Weekly's Cooking on a Shoestring' which has been published this year and contains lots of super recipes that certainly reflect needs of the times! The others are Potato and Rosemary Pizza, Broccoli and Garlic Breadcrumb Spaghetti and Smashed Roast Potato and Thyme Gratin.
- 2 large eggplants (1kg/2lb)
- olive oil, for shallow frying
- 1⁄2 cup plain flour (75g/31/2oz)
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups breadcrumbs (200g/61/2oz approximately)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 750 ml bottled pasta sauce (I recommend MarraMamba's The Simplest Tomato Sauce Ever (Marcella Hazan))
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (100g/31/2oz approximately)
- 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated (30g/1oz)
- 1⁄3 cup fresh oregano leaves, loosely packed
- 1⁄2 cup walnuts (optional)
- 2 -3 slices rindless bacon, fat removed, chopped (optional)
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel random strips of skin from the eggplants; save the skins for use in my Vegetable Stock Recipe #135453; slice the eggplants thinly.
- Heat the oil in a large - preferably non-stick - pan. Make sure that the oil is hot (but not so hot that the crumbed eggplant slices burn) before adding each batch of crumbed eggplant slices so that the surface is immediately sealed; eggplant is notorious for absorbing oil and will do just that if the oil is too cool and you'll end up using a very large quantity of oil!
- Mix the minced garlic and dried basil with the breadcrumbs.
- Coat the eggplant slices in flour; shake off the excess; dip in the egg, then in the breadcrumb mixture; shallow-fry in batches, until lightly browned; drain on absorbent paper.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced/400°F/gas mark 6.
- Mix cheeses together and mix in the walnuts (if using).
- Spread about one-third of the pasta sauce over the base of a well-greased 2.5 litre (10-cup) ovenproof dish; top with about one-third of the eggplant, one-third of the cheeses and one-third of the oregano; repeat layering.
- Bake, covered, for 20 minutes; uncover (and add chopped bacon, if using); bake for 10 minutes or until the surface is lightly browned (and the bacon, if using, is cooked and crisped).