GRAFFITI EGGPLANT PARMESAN CASSEROLE
This is a simple delicious eggplant parmesan casserole made with the small Graffiti eggplant. The Graffiti eggplant has a thinner skin so you do not need to peel it and it also has smaller seeds and cooks quicker. With this no-baked method, it’s healthier too!
- 2 Graffiti eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch thick round slices
- 1 1/2 cups Italian Panko Breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs, beatened
- olive oil for spraying
- 1 cup flour for dredging
- 1 jar (32 oz.) Marinara sauce (I prefer Rao’s)
- 3/4 cup parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
- 1 (15 oz.) container Ricotta (I prefer Galbani)
- 1 package (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
- salt and pepper as needed
- 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish
Optional: Another jar of Marinara sauce and spaghetti to serve along side!
Arrange the eggplant slices on baking sheets and sprinkle generously all over with salt. Set aside to let the bitter juices weep from the eggplant, at lease 1 hour.
After an hour, transfer the eggplant to a colander in the sink and rinse well with cold running water, making sure you get the salt off. Transfer to paper towels on a work surface and blot very well with more paper towels, get as dry as you can.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use a large cookie sheet with wire grates on top. Spray a little olive oil on the wire. Set up a station with the flour, eggs, and panko breadcrumbs. Add a little salt and pepper to the flour and eggs and mix. Dip the eggplant slices in the flour, shake off, then dip in the eggs, and then the panko. Press crumbs down with fingers to pack and cover evenly. Place in a single layer on the oiled baking grate and sheet. Lightly spray or drizzle olive oil on the eggplant. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. (No need to flip since it’s on the grate).
When you take the eggplant is taken out of the oven, lower the oven to 350 degrees.
In a 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish, place 3/4 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. Place dollops of Ricotta cheese around the bottom and spread around a little with the back of a spoon. Place a layer of the eggplant. Top with another 3/4 cup of marinara sauce, then spread it around with the back of a spoon. Then sprinkle 1/2 the package of mozzarella around the dish.
Repeat with another layer of eggplant and pour the remaining marinara sauce on top, again spreading it around with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve with a side of spaghetti and top with a little more marinara sauce.