My Mother's Eggplant Parmigiana

September  5, 2009
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

My mother insists on a walnut topping for her eggplant parmigiana; a Sicilian touch. I differ from her in that I roast the eggplant in the oven rather than fry it on the stove, which makes for less fat and splash. This recipe is adapted from my book, I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti. In the book, I tell readers to toast the breadcrumbs and walnuts before baking the casserole. I have since learned that this extra step is not necessary. In the book I use canned tomatoes which is perfectly fine but I used fresh ones today. The plum tomatoes were sitting right next to the eggplants at the Park Slope farmer's market this morning, and I could not pass them by. —Giulia Melucci

What You'll Need
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 pound plum tomatoes (about 5)
  • 1 tablespoon medium garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • For the eggplant:
  • 1 large, firm, shiny eggplant
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 1 teaspoon for walnut topping
  • 1 pinch salt, more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino (or parmigiano) cheese
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
  1. For the sauce:
  2. Peel the tomatoes with a vegetable peeler, remove the stem ends, halve vertically and sccop out as many seeds as you can with a small spoon (or don't, I didn't bother with the seeds), puree in a food processor.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add garlic and red pepper flakes, heat until garlic is golden, about 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes, wine, sugar, salt and basil leaves. Cook until thickened, 20-25 minutes.
  1. For the eggplant:
  2. Preheat oven to 450° F. Slice the eggplant into rounds 1/2" thick, lay the eggplant onto a cooking sheet. Sprinkle salt and brush olive oil onto each side. Cook each side for 15 minutes turning once. Both sides should be nicely browned.
  3. When both the sauce and the eggplant are ready prepare a pan that can accommodate the eggplant by brushing the bottom and sides with olive oil, then add a layer of sauce. Cover the sauce with one layer of eggplant then spoon some sauce over it, sprinkle one half of the mozzarella and one half of the pecorino, then add another layer of eggplant followed by the sauce and both cheeses. This recipe should only make two layers, if you come up with more, keep going until you are ready to add the topping.
  4. Mix the breadcrumbs and walnuts in a small bowl with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle the topping over the final layer of eggplant and bake until browned and bubbling, about 20-25 minutes. Allow the finished dish to rest for 10 -15 minutes before serving.
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12 Reviews

cholula October 6, 2021
omg! was this good! I followed the recipe pretty much exactly. Added some fresh oregano from the garden since frost here in the pnw is coming soon. This is so good! loved the addition of the walnuts. Nice touch.
Shortrib December 4, 2017
Very yummy recipe! The walnut topping added a lovely crisp crust and gave the dish an extra depth of flavour. I would cut back next time on the salt in the tomato sauce since the aubergine was already well salted, but it was still delicious! Thanks for sharing.
CurioCook January 2, 2016
I make this recipe ALL the time. It is really excellent!!
pattyrat February 7, 2014
Made this last night - although I used a different sauce I had leftover from earlier in the week. Delicious! I love roasting the eggplant and the walnut topping adds a nice texture and flavor. I served it with a Caesar salad, yum!
Tayler D. February 6, 2014
This was very good! I served it over steamed and buttered brown rice and it paired extremely well.
royandrobinuk October 26, 2013
We made this with buffalo mozzarella and a goat's cheese similar to parmignana. Allergy issues in our house! It was absolutely delicious! Total comfort food!
Theresa October 26, 2013
This sounds great and healthy. I never bread the eggplant and get raves. The little extra crunch should be great!
annalea October 8, 2013
Delicious! I've been eating my grandma's and mom's eggplant for many years and decided to try this on a whim after getting some great produce to use. Really easy and excellent flavors. The topping really makes the whole dish.
Dina M. October 1, 2013
this was delicious!
Shazna May 26, 2012
Delicious! I made it with thinly sliced zucchini (lengthwise) -- thank you for this, was perfect.
katstreet September 19, 2011
Made this recipe with my mom for a family dinner and it was a huge hit. The carnivores of the family didn't even realize there was no meat, and the walnut topping was so tasty. Thanks for sharing!
Giulia M. September 19, 2011
Did you save me a piece? You've got me in the mood for some! So happy that you enjoyed it. Thanks for posting.