Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

24 or so Ounces of Your Favorite Red Pasta Sauce ~or~
(My NEW Homemade Red Sauce)
Ape Load of {Mixed Small on Vine/Roma} Tomatoes (I used about half an ice cream bucket full - fresh)
1/4 Cup Sea Salt (Finely Ground)
1/4 Cup Italian Seasoning Mixture
1/4 Cup Diced White Onion (Sauteed)
3-5 Tablespoons {each} Minced Garlic, Chopped Bay Leaves, Chopped Parsley, Finely Chopped Basil, and Finely Chopped Oregano

2 Large Eggplants
2 Cups of Italian Style Breadcrumbs (store bought or homemade)
1/4 Cup Ground Parmesan Cheese
2 Large Eggs
1/4 Cup Milk (1% or 2% - skim doesn't hold as well)

1 Pound Thin Spaghetti Noodles (or your favorite pasta) - cooked

Ok, now, before we start this adventure, I must be honest...I did not actually measure anything.  I think I used about the measurements of each item above...except the Eggplant.  I know I used two of those.

So...on to the red sauce:
Get the gross tops off the tomatoes and cut them up.  Bring the tomatoes to a boil and (MINUS the salt), add the half of seasoning measurements.  Boil for about five (5) minutes.  Strain the mixture and puree the big hunks (but put the rest of the liquid back into your pot).  Simmer this for about ten (10) minutes.  Strain mixture again.  Anything left in the strainer toss, anything strained, put back into pot.  Add the other half of the seasonings (to taste).  Add salt (to taste) I didn't use as much as the Hubs would have, he just put more on at the table.  If mixture is too sweet, add a little more salt than you normally would.  If mixture is too thin, add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste, but watch out for making it too sweet.  After adding seasonings, bring to a boil again, then simmer for 10-20 minutes (the longer you simmer, the thicker it will get).

While simmering, you can start the Eggplant portion of the evening.  Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease the bottom of two (2) cookie sheets.  Mix the eggs and milk together in a bowl and mix the breadcrumbs and cheese into another bowl.  Thinly slice the eggplant (I did about 1/8 inch and they cooked up quickly, you can do thicker, but they take longer to bake and are drier).  Drip eggplant into egg/milk mixture, take out and let drip, then cover both sides with the breadcrumb/cheese mixture.  Place onto cookie sheet.  They can be very close together, as they will shrink while cooking, but expand.  Once done, put cookie sheets into the oven for 20 minutes.  Eggplant should me slightly smaller, the breadcrumbs should be dried and the edges should be ever so gently curling.  The middles should be soft.

You can cook the noodles while the Eggplant is baking.

Once all is done cooking, put Spaghetti Noodles on plate (or bowl), then Eggplant, then Sauce.  Garnish with Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese and/or a sprig of fresh parsley.