Growing up in India,the only international food that i ever had was the Indo-Chinese food.With the onset of cable TV in India came a lot of international channels which aired a lot of US TV serials.It was when watching these serials did I come to know of food items like pizza, burger, pasta.But that was the closest I got to these foods and it is in the last 5-7 years that these food items have entered into the Indian market. I remember eating Italian food in India 5-6 years ago in restaurants like sizzler or oven fresh which specialized in Western food. The dishes that I had at these restaurants were macaroni or spaghetti pasta in tomato or cheese sauce.When I moved to US I was introduced to whole new Italian cuisine.It was on one such trip to the Italian restaurant "Olive Garden" when I first tasted the Eggplant Parmigiana and I instantly fell in love with this dish. I never thought that anything made of eggplant can taste so yummy.So few weeks back I made this dish at home and it was all worth the effort.As per articles and food blogs on the net, traditionally the eggplant is fried in olive oil and then assembled and baked with tomato pasta sauce, but instead of frying i tried the healthy option and grilled the eggplant in the oven and then assembled it and baked it again.So here is the recipe
Eggplant 1 large
4 big tsp dried Oregano powder (u can use the one available in bottles in supermarkets)
Black pepper powder 1/2 tsp
Bread crumbs 1/2 cup
Olive oil 1/4th cup
Pasta Sauce 1 whole bottle ( Divide into 4-5 portions)
Fresh Basil leaves 5-6
1/4 cup Sliced mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Slice the eggplant into 1cm thick round slices (about 6 slices )and sprinkle salt on each side and keep aside.
2. Drain off any water, rinse and pat dry.
3. Take the eggs in a round vessel and beat well.In a flat plate spread the bread crumbs and dry oregano powder.
4. Dip each eggplant slice first in the egg mixture and then coat with oregano powder and finally with breadcrumbs.(The eggs will help the breadcrumbs and oregano to stick to the eggplant)
5.Brush a baking tray with olive oil and place the coated eggplants on the tray and grill at 200deg C for 25 mins or till eggplants are done.
6.In the meanwhile cook the pasta as per instructions on the packet drain and place in vessel . To this add 1 tsp olive oil , 2-3 basil leaves, salt(if not added when cooking the pasta), 1/2 tsp black pepper powder and 1/2 of the pasta sauce.Mix well.
7.Take a Baking dish and brush it with some olive oil. Spread the bottom with 1/2 cup of pasta sauce.Top with the eggplant slices. Top eggplant with half of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese and half of the basil leave.
8. Now layer this with 1/2 cup of pasta sauce and the cooked pasta. Finally layer with remaining basil leaves and Parmesan cheese and olive oil . Bake for another 20mins or till the cheese melts.
Serve hot with garlic bread.
Note- Divide the pasta sauce as per your requirement before you start layering so you have enough sauce till the last layer.The pasta sauce is needed to moisten the eggplant and the pasta.