2 medium to large eggplants
3 cups of Marinara or meat sauce (depending on your preference for vegetarian)
Handful of chopped basil leaves
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Slice 2 large eggplants length wise in 1/4 inch strips
Lightly salt the slices and place in a strainer over the sink. Allow to sit for a couple hours to get the moisture out of the eggplant. (I have skipped this step when I was in a rush – the dish is still very tasty but might be a little more watery)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly sprinkle a baking tray ( I love this one by USA Pan) with olive oil. Fan out the eggplant slices on the tray then drizzle more olive oil on top.
Bake for 30 minutes. (this is a crucial step so that the eggplant slices become tender and melt in your mouth…)
Drizzle olive oil on the base of a lasagna tray ( I have been using this Le Creuset baking tray for years). Lay the baked eggplant slices on the bottom of the tray, one layer deep – like you would pasta noodles.
Generously spread a layer of tomato sauce to fully cover the eggplant slices.
Sprinkle basil over entire pan.
Add half of the mozzarella and half of the parmesan.
Add another layer of the eggplant slices over the sauce.
Spread the remaining sauce.
Top with both parmesan and mozzarella
Bake, uncovered for 40 minutes until cheese is a nice golden brown and you see little bubbles from the sauce.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. (if you can wait that long! It smells delicious…)
Two key steps that make this dish a success:
1) letting the eggplant slices “sweat” for a few hours so that they loose their moisture
2) Pre-baking the eggplant slices in the oven for 30 minutes ensures a soft, melt in your mouth texture to the eggplant “noodles”
This dish is even better the next day !