Eggplant Parmigiana – Olive Garden Style.
This has always been a personal favourite of my husband`s and mine especially at the Olive Garden. It`s always a pleasure to consume the freshly fried crisp pieces of eggplant, fragrant with the aromas of bread crumbs and herbs, soaked in a warm bed of marinara sauce all placed on a heap of softly cooked angel hair or spaghetti. Many times, you would want to recreate the magic at the restaurant, in our very own kitchens. Tonight was one such effort as my husband had bought this amazingly soft Japanese Eggplant from the whole foods store.
All the recipes that I had watched on food tv more or less required the eggplant to be dredged in an egg wash and then soaked in a pile of bread crumbs and then fried. I wanted to leave out the egg wash as well as the frying part. So I had to rehash it and make my own recipe based on my knowledge of baking and cooking. I have to mention here, that the end result was astounding!!! It was even better than the one at Olive Garden, as I had sucessfully recreated the taste sans the eggs and the extra oil from frying!!!
I used fresh ingredients today – Fresh italian flat leaf parsley and fresh strands of thyme. There is definitely a difference cooking with fresh herbs and I am not able to get back to my refridgerated dry herbs. Also when I am putting in a lot of effort in the vegetable, I did not want to start making my own sauce. So I used store bought marinara – this one is really a beauty – Pastorelli’s Garden Marinara.
One Japanese Eggplant.
Small springs of fresh thyme.
Italian Parsley chopped.
Garden Marinana Sauce – 3 cups.
Bread Crumbs made from a day old bread.
3 spoons of rice flour dissolved in 1/2 cup pf water.
2 spoons of flax powder.
- Preheat the oven to 300 F. Pulse 3 bread slices in your mixer and pop it in a tray and toast it in the oven for 4-5 minutes. Take out and allow to cool.
- Add salt, flax powder,freshly chopped parsley , freshly chopped thyme and ground pepper and mix it in to the bread crumbs well. Save some of the herbs for later.
- Slice the eggplant cross-section in to little circles of about 1 inch width and place them all on a single row on a greased baking tray.
- Season the eggplants with salt, pepper and basil ON BOTH SIDES after spraying oil on them. This helps the herbs to stick to the eggplants.
- Preheat the oven to 400F and roast the eggplants fr about 13-15 minutes depending on the strength of the oven. The eggplants need to be well done.
- Dissolve the rice flour in to the water and season that also with a little salt and pepper.
- Line the bread crumbs and the rice flour mix next to each other.
- Dredge the roasted eggplants in the rice flour mix and then let it sink in to the bread crumbs. Continue with all the eggplant pieces.
- Line them again on the tray and bake covered with a foil at 400 F for about 20 minutes. Remove and keep aside.
- Cook the spaghetti for about 12 minutes as per the instructions on the cover. Keep aside.
- Take a oven proof dish and line it first with the marinana sauce.
- Arrange all the roasted eggplants in a single row and then top again with the marinana sauce till they are covered.
- Add chopped fresh parsley and thyme and sprinkle parmesan cheese and a little of part skim mozzarella.
- Bake covered with foil for another 20 minutes.
- Serve the baked eggplants on a bed of spaghetti and serve HOT!!!
- I make a smaller portion for my husband`s lunch the next day. All it needs is a few minutes in the microwave oven and its as good as out of the oven!!!
- Here is an amazing dinner with almost no oil, no eggs, only healthy wheat pasta and roasted eggplants.