Recipe courtesy of Don Angie

Eggplant Parmesan

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 45 min
  • Active: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
This is one of Chef Scott Tacinelli’s favorite dishes—and it’s even incredible cold, he says. Garlicky marinara and gooey cheeses are integral to this 17-layer masterpiece, but they're spread thin enough to allow the crisp eggplant cutlets to really shine. Don’t be intimidated: the components require some advance prep, but the assembly is easy (and fun)!


Marinara Sauce

Breading Mixture

Eggplant Cutlets

Eggplant Parmesan


  1. Marinara Sauce: Trim root ends of the garlic cloves, then smash with the flat side of a knife. Peel off skins and set aside. In a 4-quart Dutch oven over high heat, add oil, followed by garlic. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt. Stir and toast the garlic until deep golden brown, 3–4 minutes. Add red pepper flakes (optional, for heat), reduce temperature to low, and add tomatoes. Increase heat to medium, add two pinches of salt and two pinches of sugar, and bring sauce to a simmer, 10–12 minutes. When simmering, taste and adjust for seasoning. Turn off heat.In a large bowl, add two large sprigs of basil, then pour the sauce over the basil. Set aside to steep while preparing the eggplant. (Makes 2 quarts. Once cool, remove and discard basil; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4–5 days or in the freezer up to 3 months.)
  2. Breading Mixture: In a large bowl, add seasoned breadcrumbs, oregano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino, and a big pinch of salt. Stir to mix well and set aside. In another large bowl, whisk eggs; season with a generous amount of black pepper and a few pinches of salt. Add flour to a large bowl.
  3. Prepare eggplant: Use a vegetable peeler to peel the eggplant; discard peel. Cut away the stem ends and discard. Use a mandoline to slice eggplant lengthwise into ⅛-inch thick slices; for safety, make the last few slices with a chef's knife.
  4. Arrange bowls side by side for dredging: flour, eggs, and breading mixture. First dredge each eggplant slice in flour, shaking off excess. Then coat with the beaten egg, followed by the breading mixture. Set breaded eggplant on a rack fitted over a baking sheet until ready to fry.
  5. Fry eggplant cutlets: In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add ⅓ cup oil. (Adjust amount as needed to have about ¼ inch of oil in the pan.) Test the oil's temperature by adding a few drops of water: if the water sizzles right away, the oil is ready for frying. Gently lay the eggplant into the oil facing away from you to avoid getting splattered. Let fry undisturbed, about 2 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain the temperature.Once the first side of the eggplant is golden brown, use tongs to gently flip (facing away from you again) and fry the other side until golden brown and delicious—or "GBD," as Chef Tacinelli puts it— about 1 more minute. As they finish frying, arrange eggplant cutlets in an even layer to drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. (Once the sheet pan is full, cover with more paper towels and place freshly fried eggplant on top.) Fry remaining eggplant, adding more oil as needed and keeping the temperature steady.
  6. Assembly: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove basil and garlic cloves from tomato sauce and discard. In another bowl, combine the Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino cheeses.Spread 1 cup sauce across the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange eggplant cutlets in a single even layer, tearing some into smaller pieces as necessary to fill the gaps. Press the eggplant layer gently into the sauce. (Do this each time you add an eggplant layer.) Next, spread ⅓ cup sauce over the eggplant, followed by ¼ cup Parmigiano-Pecorino mixture. In even layers, add eggplant, ⅓ cup sauce, ¼ cup Parmigiano-Pecorino, ¾ cup mozzarella, and half of the basil leaves. Then add another layer of eggplant, sauce, and Parmigiano-Pecorino. Finally, layer the remaining eggplant, sauce, Parmigiano-Pecorino, basil, and mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake, 45 minutes. (Here are the layers once more, from the bottom up: 1 C sauce, eggplant, ⅓ C sauce, ¼ C Parmigiano-Pecorino, eggplant, ⅓ C sauce, ¼ C Parmigiano-Pecorino, ¾ C mozzarella, half the basil leaves, eggplant, ⅓ C sauce, ¼ C Parmigiano-Pecorino, remaining eggplant, ⅓ C sauce, ¼ C Parmigiano-Pecorino, remaining basil, ¾ C mozzarella.)
  7. After 45 minutes, remove Eggplant Parmesan from oven and remove foil. Bake another 10 minutes, uncovered, until golden brown and bubbly. Let rest 20-30 minutes, then cut into squares with a chef’s knife and plate with a spatula. Chef Tacinelli likes to add a ladle of hot marinara just before serving.