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Pesto Crusted Eggplant Parmesan

If you asked me what my favourite herb is the answer would be basil, I love the smell of basil and the vibrant colour. My local grocery store sells fresh basil in big bags with long roots covered in dirt. Don't worry I rinse the basil thoroughly before using it. The idea of combining basil in my crusty topping sounded perfect for this dish. 

I prefer eggplant that is roasted in the oven, a much healtier alternative to frying your eggplant. Also with the crunchy topping I don't coat the eggplant with breadcrumbs.

The sauce, let's talk San Marzano tomatoes....as far as canned tomatoes go I always buy San Marzano and there is a distinct taste difference. 

This recipe is really quite easy and you can prepare your casserole well in advance and just keep in the fridge until you are ready to cook. 





















Pesto Crusted Eggplant Parmasen
Serves 6

Ingredients:
  • 2 medium sized eggplants
  • 1 tbsp dried italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
        Sauce:
  • 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes (whole)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup red winte
​      Pesto Breadcrumbs:
  • large bunch of basil (approx. 4-5 cups)
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 4 oz goat cheese (broken by hand in small pieces)
  • 8 oz fresh mozzerella (sliced and then torn into smaller pieces)

Instructions:
  1. Preheat over to 375 degrees
  2. Cut eggplant into 1/2" thick slices and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and italian seasoning. Adjust and add more oil and seasoning if your eggplant looks dry. 
  3. Place circles on baking sheet and place the middle rack of the oven, bake 5-8 minutes and turn once bottom side has slightly browned. Cook another 8-10 minutes. 
  4. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. Making the sauce: In saucepan add olive oil and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds, add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Don't let you garlic burn. 
  6. Break up using your hands or pulse the tomatoes in the food processor until broken up and then add to the pan and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add wine and 3-4 tbsp of shredded basil. Simmer another 15 minutes and set aside to cool down.
  7. Making the pesto topping: Wash your basil and dry in a salad spinner. In a food processor, add garlic and parmesan cheese and pulse until chopped. Add in basil and pulse, then add panko breadcrumbs and olive oil and pulse 4-5 times just until all the ingredients are combined. 
  8. To assemble your dish, using a large deep casserole dish spread a layer of sauce. Just enough to fully cover the bottom of the dish. Spread your eggplant evenly and sprinkle with goat cheese and fresh mozzerella. Add more sauce over this layer and repeat with eggplant, cheese and remaining sauce. Top with pesto crumb mixture. 
  9. Bake uncovered in oven for 25-30 minutes, until bubbling. Broil top for just a minute but keep a close watch, I tend to forget and get a burnt topping...not great. 

Serve with salad and garlic bread!