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This is a hearty Italian dish from my Great Grandmother who was from Sicily. We used to make this once a month. Don't worry about frying the eggplant it's fried in olive oil and my Papa always said that Olive oil was the best thing for you (he also used to say to shove garlic cloves up your nose if you have a cold, but that's another story). If you want to leave the other ingredients out and just fry the eggplant it is wonderful on a sandwich cold with a little butter. I could die. This dish feeds a whole army and can be made up to two days ahead just pop it in the fridge after it's done. I think it tastes better the second day, personally.
- 2 large eggplants, unbruised
- 1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce (I use Prego it tastes better)
- 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated (do not use fresh mozzarella it is to hard to grate)
- 12 eggs (the amount varies depending on how large the eggplants are so better be safe then sorry)
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- garlic powder, to taste
- olive oil, for frying
- fresh basil, garnish (optional)
- A great deal of patience for when you smell this heavenly concoction baking.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Wash and peel the eggplant (use a potato peeler so you don't take to much flesh off).
- Slice eggplant very thin.
- Start with four eggs.
- Scramble and add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Place in a shallow dish (a metal pie tin works well).
- When your egg mixture runs low just add another egg or two and some more seasonings.
- Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet.
- Soak eggplant in the egg mixture and fry in the hot oil.
- Make sure there is enough oil in the pan.
- Fry all of the eggplant (that's the time consuming part).
- Mix ricotta with one egg and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder (mix well).
- Now crack open that jar of pasta sauce and start layering in a large Pyrex (9x13).
- First lay down a light layer of sauce, next fried eggplant, then ricotta, then mozzarella, then sauce, then eggplant, and so on and so on until you get to the top which you top with sauce and sprinkle on some more mozzarella cheese.
- You should have about 5 layers of everything.
- Cover with foil and bake for approximately 45 minute to one hour depending on your oven, last 5-10 minute remove foil and bake uncovered.
- Allow to rest for about fifteen minute or so before cutting into it or the layers will fall apart into a big mess, not that it won't taste the same.
- Garnish with basil.