I loved my time as a college student at Rutgers and I am a loyal son even through the recent nationally publicized debacles and resultant black eyes affecting the basketball and football teams. RU has many diverse and notable alumni including Paul Robeson, James Gandolfini, Milton Friedman, Ozzie Nelson, children's (and adult) writer Judith Viorst and believe it or not, Mr. Magoo.
One alumni whose work I have been reading lately is chef Mario Batali. While he was at Rutgers he learned his cooking at a local student hangout known as "Stuff Yer Face." Now of course, he is all over the world with his TV shows, cook books, and restaurants. I have been doing more of the cooking lately around our house and I recently found a pretty healthy (no frying) and easy Eggplant Parmigiana from Mario. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggplant, about 2 pounds
salt and pepper
2 cups tomato sauce
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 cup grated parmigiano cheese
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted under broiler
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Using some extra-virgin olive oil, oil a baking sheet
Slice eggplant into 6 pieces about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
Lightly season each desk with salt and pepper and place on the oiled sheet
Bake the eggplant at 450 degrees F until the slices begin turning deep brown on top, about 12-15 minutes.
Remove eggplants from oven and place them on a plate to cool.
Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F. In an 8 x 12 brownie pan, place the 4 largtest eggplant slices evenly spaced apart.
Over each slice, spread 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and sprinkle with a teaspoon of basil.
Place one slice of mozzarella over each and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated parmigiano.
Place the smaller slices of eggplant over each of the disks and repeat with tomato sauce, basic, and the 2 cheeses.
Repeat the layering again until all the ingredients are used.
Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the top of the eggplant dish, and bake uncovered until the cheese melts and tops turn light brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.