Eggplant Parmigiana or Roasted Eggplant with Tomato Sauce and Grated Parmigiano Reggiano

One of the many version of eggplant parm we make - here we use tiny eggplants sliced in half and simply dressed with tomato sauce and grated cheese

Eggplant Parmigiana or Roasted Eggplant with Tomato Sauce and Grated Parmigiano Reggiano

The PBS star Mary Ann Esposito recently caused a little bit of controversy over at the Huffington Post when she published a recipe entitled, “The Real Eggplant Parmigiano.”  Amongst the comments on the post, some readers accused Mary Ann of pushing an Italian-American version of Eggplant Parmigiano and using an inauthentic cooking oil, like peanut oil (to say the least, the recipe got under the skin of certain individuals; I’m actually wondering why the Huffington Post is publishing articles on food and recipes <talk about being off-brand>).  One reader went on to state that Eggplant Parmigiano probably didn’t exist in parts of Italy (especially Southern Italy) until the late 1970’s when Parmigiano Reggiano started becoming readily available.

Nevertheless, I can only comment on the versions of eggplant parmigiano I’m accustomed to and neither of the recipes have a breaded and fried component which include flouring the eggplant slices prior to frying (per Mary Ann).

a close up: One of the many version of eggplant parm we make - here we use tiny eggplants sliced in half and simply dressed with tomato sauce and grated cheese

The first eggplant dish I would label “eggplant parmigiano” is made by simply grilling and layering slices of eggplant and with olive oil, chopped parsley, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano (no baking, frying, or tomato sauce) – click here for the full recipe.

The second version includes pan frying thinly cut eggplant and simmering tomato sauce and mozzarella on the stovetop – click here for the full recipe.

The third version is the focus of this post and is best made with “mini-eggplant” or small Italian eggplant (basically smaller versions of the large generic eggplant found in most markets).


  • 6-7 mini Italian eggplant
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 2 cups of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


The dish is fairly straightforward and begins by cutting the mini-eggplant in half (length wise) and roasting at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-35 or until the interior flesh of the eggplant is nice and soft.  Prior to placing the eggplant in the oven, each length should be brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with plenty of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

After removing the eggplant from the oven, you can laddle a bit of tomato sauce over the halved lengths, along with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Thereafter, place the eggplant back in the oven for a few more minutes or until the cheese has melted and, presto, you have a simple baked eggplant or eggplant parmigiano dish.


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  3. In our Neapolitan family kitchen – Melanzane alla Parmgiana
    4 pounds eggplantOlive oil for frying2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled and choppedA small piece of onion, mincedAbundant basil3/4 pound fresh mozzarella (buffalo milk if possible)2 eggs1/2 cup grated ParmigianoPepper
    Note: You can also use 3.6 pounds canned tomatoes or 1 1/2 quarts tomato sauce.Drain the tomatoes well, and cook them with the minced onion and a sprig of basil. When they have softened, drain them and put them through a food mill, then cook them a little more over low heat, without letting the sauce thicken too much. Salt the sauce when it is done and don’t add oil, as the eggplant will have absorbed enough in frying.Peel the eggplants and cut them into quarter-inch slices; salt them and place them between to plates to press out the bitter juices. After 1 to 2 hours rinse them and pat them dry. In the mean time, heat a pot of oil to the smoking point, then fry the slices, a few at a time, removing them from the oil while they are still lightly colored. Set the slices upright in a rack to drain, then put them on a sheet of absorbent paper to remove all the oil you can.Mince the basil and cut the mozzarella into thin slices, then cut the slices into strips. Take a 10-inch diameter oven-proof dish that’s about 3 inches high and spread a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce over it. Next, beat the eggs with 2/3 cup of tomato sauce.Arrange a third of the eggplant in the bottom of the dish, overlapping the slices slightly, and cover them with 2 tablespoons grated cheese, 5-6 pieces basil leaves, 2-3 tablespoons of the egg sauce, and half the mozzarella. Repeat this process with another layer. Lay down a third layer, covering it with the remaining grated cheese, egg-tomato sauce, and, if need be a little more tomato sauce to cover.Bake in a slow oven for about an hour, turning the heat up in the last few minutes to lightly brown the top. The dish should not be eaten hot – let it cool some, or better yet, entirely. It will be better the next day or even the day after that.

  4. My wife makes the best. They are even better as left overs or in a sandwich with some nice hot peppers.

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