This authentic Italian Baked Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe is like no other. It's full of flavor because it's made with a tasty homemade meat sauce, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses and delicious freshly homemade fried eggplant. It's an old family specialty recipe passed down through the generations.
First, make meat sauce. In a large sauce pan, add extra virgin olive oil, chopped onion and garlic and cook for a minute.
Then, add ground beef and cook until the beef is browned. Add canned tomato sauce or puree. Add fresh parsley. Stir it and let it cook for about an hour. Stir it every 10 minutes so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, make the fried eggplant. First, wash the eggplant and dry them. Then, cut eggplant into 1/4 inch thick round pieces with a serrated knife.
Next, salt one side of the eggplant to sweat out the brown, bitter juice. It will take 10-15 minutes. Note: You don't have to remove the brown juice before frying.
Then, set up the dredging station: Dip the eggplant in flour, followed by beaten eggs.
Next, fry the dipped eggplant in canola, corn or olive oil heated to about 365 degrees. Drain on paper towel-lined platter.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Next, add about 3/4 cup of meat sauce to the bottom of a 13"x 9"x 3" casserole dish.
Then, add fried eggplant to cover the casserole dish allowing them to overlap on the edges. You should have about 9 pieces or so.
Next, add half each of the shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Then, add about one cup of meat sauce. Use a slotted spoon so that most of the sauce drains into the pot before adding it to the casserole. (NOTE: if you like a lot of sauce, don't use a slotted spoon and you may need a bigger casserole dish.)
Repeat steps 9-11 for the next and final layer.
Next, bake the casserole uncovered in oven at 350F for 30 minutes. Once removed from oven, allow the casserole to sit 10 minutes before cutting.
Freeze the casserole leftovers and leftover sauce in plastic containers for up to 3 months.Note: there will be more than enough sauce to make this casserole which is intended for those that like a lot of sauce. If you want extra sauce than mentioned in the recipe, you'll need a bigger casserole dish for baking or it'll likely overflow in your oven.