Eggplant Parmigiana with Margherita® Pepperoni
- 2 Large Eggplant, About 2 Pounds2
- 4 Eggs4
- 4 Tbsp. Water4 Tbsp.
- 1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano1/2 Cup
- 4 1/2 Cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs4 1/2 Cups
- 2 Cups Basic Tomato Sauce (Recipe Follows)2 Cups
- 1 Bunch Fresh Basil Leaves, Chiffonade1 Bunch
- 1 Pound Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced 1/8-Inch Thick1 Pound
- 8 Ounces (Approx 40 Slices) Deli-Sliced Margherita® Pepperoni, Sliced Thin8 Ounces
- Olive Oil As Needed
Basic Tomato Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil1/4 Cup
- 1 Spanish Onion, 1/4-Inch Diced1
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Thinly Sliced3
- 2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Thyme Leaves, Or 1 Tablespoon Dried2 Tbsp.
- 1/2 Medium Carrot, Finely Grated1/2
- 2 (28-Ounce) Cans Peeled Whole Tomatoes, Crushed By Hand And Juices Reserved2
- Salt, To Taste
Tip: You can substitute your favorite store bought brand of tomato sauce for the recipe below to save time.
FOR THE SAUCE: In a 5-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
FOR THE SAUCE: Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Slice each eggplant lengthwise into slices about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
In a large skillet, add olive oil (approx. 1/4 inch deep) and heat for frying.
In a bowl, mix eggs and water together. On a large plate, mix grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese and 4 cups seasoned breadcrumbs together. Dip eggplant into the egg mixture, then the breadcrumb mixture. Place breaded eggplant slices into skillet and fry until golden brown, rotating once if necessary. Remove from skillet.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In an 8x12-inch brownie pan, place the 4 largest eggplant slices, evenly spaced apart from each other. Over each slice, spread 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and sprinkle with a teaspoon of basil. Place one slice of mozzarella and 3 slices pepperoni over each slice and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated Parmigiano. Place the smaller slices of eggplant over each of the disks and repeat with tomato sauce, basil, pepperoni and the 2 cheeses. Repeat the layering again until all the ingredients are used.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs over the top of the eggplant dish, and bake uncovered until the cheese is melted and the tops turn light brown, about 20 minutes.