Make the best Eggplant Parmesan ever with this authentic Parmigiana di Melanzane recipe! This comes straight from my Italian mom’s kitchen!
Hello friends and happy Friday! I can’t believe I just have one week til Christmas break! Yaaassss. My brain is ready. My body is ready. My baking is also ready. I have so many things I want to bake for y’all! But first, I have some real food to share. This is my mom’s incredible Eggplant Parmesan and it is seriously TO DIE FOR. This is as authentic as it gets! Nobody can transform some simple eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese like an Italian can. Let’s go make it!
I kid you not when I say I have been meaning to put this on the blog for freaking ever. I love making up new recipes and experimenting, but there are so many amazing Italian family traditions around food that it’s a shame to not share them. This eggplant parmesan is made of some humble, simple ingredients but the flavor payoff is huge. This is the ultimate proof of, “you don’t need meat to have something taste delicious and satisfying”.
I’ll be honest, eggplant parmesan and lasagna rank up right at the top of my favorite comfort foods! I also love pizza, of course. And I have a soft spot for this carbalicious potato and zucchini pasta that my grandma used to make all the time when I was little. Italians don’t really make casseroles, but we make an exception for pasta and pasta-like dishes, and it’s a darn good exception in my opinion!
I seriously hope you’ll try making this eggplant parmesan sometime! It is definitely a bit of work, I won’t lie, but it is SO worth it! I’ll also tell you a couple secrets – to make this a little lighter and egg-free, you can skip the egg wash and just dip the eggplant slices in the flour then fry. I think it’s just as good! And to make it even more of a skinny recipe, you can also use grilled eggplant slices. Though in that case, I’d recommend peeling the eggplant first as I feel like the skin gets tough when grilling. 🙂
- *for the eggplants*
- 2 medium-large eggplants
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- salt & pepper as needed
- 2-3 cups vegetable oil, to fry
- *for the tomato sauce*
- 28oz can tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp parsley
- salt to taste
- pinch of sugar
- *for the béchamel sauce*
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 cups milk
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- salt to taste
- *for assembly*
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
- First, wash and dry the eggplant. Trim off top and bottom, and cut into ¼ inch slices.
- Cover in cold water mixed with 1-2 tbsp salt and soak for 30 min. Then drain well and pat dry with paper towel.
- Pour your vegetable oil in a large frying pan, and heat over medium until it shimmers.
- Now, place the flour in a shallow bowl. Beat the two eggs in a separate shallow bowl.
- Create an assembly line, and dip the eggplant slices first in the flour, then the egg mixture. Place immediately in the hot oil to fry. Cook until golden brown and crisp, then place on a paper-towel lined place and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat with all.
- Now, make the tomato sauce. In a medium nonstick pan, heat the olive oil with the smashed cloves of garlic over medium-high heat. Add in the canned tomato sauce, and season with salt, garlic powder, parsley, and a pinch of sugar. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Finally, make the béchamel sauce. In a medium pan over medium heat, warm up the olive oil. Add in the flour all at once, and whisk quickly and constantly until the flour cooks and is light golden brown.
- As you keep whisking, slowly add in the milk. Add in the salt, garlic powder, and nutmeg. Add more milk as needed if it's too thick.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Now, you can assemble. Grab a 11 x 13 baking pan, and lightly grease with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, then make a layer of eggplant on top. Spoon some tomato sauce and béchamel on top, and top with some sliced mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Repeat to create 2-3 more layers, finishing with the béchamel and cheese.
- Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Then, remove foil and bake for 10 minutes more. Let cool slightly and enjoy!