For a healthier version of this recipe, instead of frying the eggplant, brush the slices with oil and then grill them in a panini press or bake them in a 450°F oven for about 15 minutes.

  • 4 – 5 eggplants, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups basic tomato sauce
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 2 eggs, light beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs

Place eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt and let drain for about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350°F. Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry. Heat the oil in a skillet, add the eggplant slices, in batches if necessary, and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove with a slotted spatula and drain on paper towels. Spoon a little of the tomato sauce into an ovenproof dish and arrange a layer of slightly overlapping eggplant slices on top. Sprinkle with a little of the Parmesan, cover a few slices of mozzarella and sprinkle a few basil leaves and 3 – 4 tablespoons of the beaten egg on top. Continue making layers until all the ingredients are used. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top, dot with butter and bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. This dish is also good served cold with crusty bread.

serves 6