italian cooking lessons {recipe #1: Egg-plant Parmesan}

Heres the deal. In college I studied Architecture abroad. In Italy. 🙂 *huge smile* it was a blast.

But perhaps the best part of studying over there was my authentic Italian cooking class from a sweet little Italian house-wife in her kitchen. What an adventure! I know that this is what my husbuddy appreciates most from my experience. 🙂

Anyway, some of my friends are asking for some of my recipes, so I thought, why not share them with everyone? (that way my little sister in college who is now learning how to cook for herself can get in on it too 😉 hee hee. love ya Ams! )

Egg-plant Parmesan

Remember last week when I went to the farmer’s market? Well, i got some eggplant there. 🙂 I’m pretty sure my friends thought I was crazy. They said they’d never made a good eggplant parma. Well, let me tell you. This recipe is the best.

why? you ask?  I’m pretty sure because it’s soooo wholesome and healthy and vegetarian. *cough cough* Well, typically it is vegetarian, but I decided to add apple sausage to this one because we got it at the market and thought it would work. Maybe it’s the way the eggplant is fried- it tastes like chicken. But way better. Maybe it’s all the mozzarella cheese. mmm. Maybe it’s just cause the taste is so savory and different from anything else. What can say? You have to try it to like it. more like fall in love with it.

Warning: This whole process took me 3 hours (including the 1 hr. of sweating). Then it had to cook for 40 minutes. Um. It is definitely a “Sunday Afternoon Adventure” for all those 20 minute meal people: “allora”. {explained soon}

First: you need eggplant. Here’s what an eggplant looks like. {considering i forgot to take a picture of my beautiful farmer’s market eggplant before i cut it up, i’ll have to use a typical googled eggplant image. so shoot me.}

 

ingredients:

  • 3lbs egg plant
  • 2 lbs ripe fresh tomatoes, chopped, peeled. (or i usually just used diced canned-it’s quicker)
  • 3 sprigs basil chopped
  • 1 Cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper
  • milk
  • flour
  • olive oil
  • Sausage (optional!! i just added it for this demonstration to try something new and it turned out delicious!)

Step 1:

Trim and peel eggplant long ways.

(Apparently there is some rule that you must cut it long ways otherwise the Italian Cook will say “ALLORA” …which basically = “sigh” you’ve messed up again. let me show you how to do it correctly… {let me tell you-i heard that A LOT in my Italian cooking class as well as Italian language. ack!})

Sprinkle with salt, layer with paper towels on a plate set at an angle. Allow to sit for an hour to sweat the bitter juices.  **This is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of getting this whole recipe to taste good.** Paper towel water off after 1 hr.

also make sure you have all your little helpers there staring and drooling. how can you work without them? {no. we did NOT get another dog. we just babysat our friend Charlie!}

Step 2:

 

 

Beat 1 egg with a few tablespoons of milk & salt.

Dip eggplant pieces in flour then egg mix.

Fry them in plenty of hot olive oil until golden brown, drain on paper towels.

 

apparently my husbuddy thought that he needed to take a picture of the whole mess. 

you’ll get plenty of yummy fried eggplant. It’s actually very good to eat this way- dip in marinara sauce. I won’t judge if you’re just too worn out to continue. 😉

Step 3:

Sauce: In a deep pan heat some oil, add tomatoes & basil, cool over brisk heat until tomatoes are soft & thick, like a sauce. Season with salt & pepper. {note. not only was i too lazy to cook fresh tomatoes, but i only had dried basil as well… “ALLORA”… I can hear it ringing in my ears… if you don’t want the same guilt use fresh : }

And cook the sausage in a little water  (if you’re adding it).

Step 4:

In a shallow, wide baking dish arrange a layer of egg-plant slices. {note: I split the recipe so I could freeze half of it for a meal in a couple of weeks! there are only two of us and this makes A LOT if all made at once. Fair warning to you.}

Sprinkle with parmesan

cover with some mozzarella

Spread tomato sauce

Layer until the last layer is eggplant with Parmesan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes and hot & bubbly 🙂

yum! I think those pictures explain for themselves (even if they were photographed in my terribly-lit-tiny-messy kitchen :-p).  It was such a wonderful, cozy fall meal! And eggplants are cheap at the farmer’s market right now! go make some Egg-Plant Parma friends! 🙂

xo- kimberly renee

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0 Responses to italian cooking lessons {recipe #1: Egg-plant Parmesan}

  1. Jim October 16, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    your dad is expecting some of this over the Christmas Holidays…

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