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Eggplant Parm pie

(Essdras m suarez/globe staff; food styling/karoline boehm goodnick)
November 5, 2008
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Serves 6

Making eggplant Parm at home is cumbersome and involves breading and frying slices of the vegetable. Eggplant Parm pie is easier. It begins with roasted slices, which are layered with traditional ingredients in a pie pan lined with pizza dough. Make a quick tomato sauce with canned tomatoes and fresh basil, roll commercial dough into a deep round pie pan, and start layering - eggplant, tomato sauce, cheese - until all the ingredients are used. You don't even need a top crust. The golden dough soaks up the sauce, the mozzarella and Parmesan melt into the vegetables, and you have a handsome supper to cut into wedges.

2 pounds eggplant, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
Olive oil (for brushing)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 can (1 pound) crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Flour (for rolling)
1 pound store-bought pizza dough
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Extra chopped basil (for garnish)
1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand a deep 9-inch pie pan.

2. Brush both sides of the sliced eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper. Set them on a rimmed baking sheet without overlapping. Roast the eggplant for 15 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Remove and set aside to cool. If necessary, roast the remaining eggplant in the same way.

3. Turn the oven temperature up to 425 degrees.

4. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Add the basil and taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper, and the sugar, if you like.

5. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough to an 11-inch round. Brush the pie pan with olive oil. Lift the dough onto the rolling pin and ease it into the pan, so it hangs over the edges. Trim off any excess. With a fork, prick the dough well all over.

6. Spread 1/3 of the sauce in the dough. Top with a layer of eggplant. Pour in 1/3 of the sauce, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, and 1/4 cup of the mozzarella. Add another layer of eggplant, 1/3 of the sauce, and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/4 cup mozzarella.

7. Bake the pie for 25 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheeses melt, and the sauce is bubbly. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Christine Merlo

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