Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan (Parmigiana di Melanzane) - Vincenzo's Plate


Sauce (Any red sauce will do, but this is traditional & the best.)
3-4 tbsp lard or extra virgin olive oil
6 pork spare ribs
~10 oz. (285g) pork belly, cut into 2-3 large chunks
~1 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into 3-4 large chunks
1 Italian sausage
1/2 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 large carrot, diced
Fresh basil leaves
Fresh black pepper
1.5 cup (355ml) red wine
3 tbsp tomato paste
56 oz. (1.6kg) tomato passata or milled whole peeled tomatoes

Eggplant & the Rest
3 large eggplants
Frying oil (extra virgin olive oil is best, otherwise use a neutral oil of your choice)
3 cups simple tomato sauce or ragù alla Napoletana
1 pound chopped mozzarella, or to taste
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or to taste
Fresh basil


The Sauce (Any red sauce will do, but this is traditional & the best.)
1. In a pot or Dutch oven, bring the olive oil or lard up to medium/high heat.
2. Add all of the meat. Don't be afraid to crowd the pot.
3. Cook the meat until browned on all sides, turning and mixing the pieces often.
4. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, along with a handful of fresh basil.
5. Salt/pepper to taste, and cook until the onion is tender.
6. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
7. Stir in the tomato paste and add the tomato passata, 1 cup of warm water, and a generous pinch of salt.
8. Partially cover the pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally and cook for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is very tender and almost falling off the bone.
9. Using tongs, remove the meat from the sauce and set aside for later.
10. Bring the sauce to a simmer again, partially covered, and cook for a further 1-2 hours. You can always add warm water and continue to cook for longer, developing the flavors even further!
11. As the ragù nears completion, taste it and add salt as necessary.

Preparing the Eggplant
1. Cut off the stem and bottom of the eggplant.
2. Thinly slice the eggplants into cross-section discs.
3. Place a large colander in a large mixing bowl.
4. Place a layer of eggplant in the colander and sprinkle some salt on top.
5. Continue to layer eggplant and salt until eggplant is gone. Top with salt.
6. Fill a mixing bowl halfway with water and place the bowl with the water in it on top of the eggplant to weigh it down. Let sit for 1 hour. This draws all the excess moisture out of the eggplant.

Preparing the Other Ingredients
1. Cut the mozzarella into small cubes.
2. Place the mozzarella in a strainer and place that strainer in a bowl.
3. Leave the mozzarella to drain while you continue cooking.
4. Gather parmesan and a grater.
5. Collect your basil.

Fry the Eggplant
1. Fill a deep frying pan with 1 inch of oil and bring up to medium/high heat.
2. Line the bottom of a large baking dish with paper towels and have more paper towels on standby.
3. To avoid overcrowding the pan, work in batches when frying the eggplant slices. Carefully drop them in and fry until they turn a light golden color.
4. Once done, use a slotted spoon or kitchen tweezers to remove the eggplants and place them on the paper towel to drain. Finally, sprinkle salt over the eggplants.
5. Once that layer is full, place another paper towel on top and add more fried eggplant. Keep layering until all eggplant is fried.

1. Preheat oven to 390°F (200°C).
2. Spread a fine layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish.
3. Place a single layer of slightly overlapping eggplant slices over it.
4. On top of the eggplant, distribute some chopped mozzarella, torn pieces of basil, and a generous grating of Parmigiano cheese.
5. Proceed by spreading another thin layer of sauce and repeating the steps mentioned above until you have layered all the eggplant.
6. Finally, finish by covering the top with an even layer of tomato sauce and a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese.
7. Cover the dish in aluminum foil and bake it for 30 minutes.
8. Remove the foil and cook the parmigiana a further 30 minutes, or until the top is beginning to brown.
9. Let the dish cool for at least 30 minutes (preferably longer!) before serving.

Serve with the meat from the sauce by reheating the meat in the sauce.

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