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Sunday Supper & More

Eggplant-mozzarella stacks

Eggplant-mozzarella stacks (Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe)
August 31, 2011

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Serves 4

3 large eggplant, cut in 1/2-inch rounds (to make 36 slices)
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 cups fresh tomato sauce
2 cups grated Parmesan
12 basil leaves
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 1/4 cups unseasoned panko
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Set an oven rack 8 inches from the broiler element; turn on the broiler. Have on hand two 9-by-13-inch baking dishes.

2. On 2 rimmed baking sheets, spread the eggplant rounds in one layer. Brush them with oil on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Broil 1 sheet at a time. Cook the eggplant for 4 minutes on a side, turning with a wide metal spatula, or until golden and cooked through. Cool briefly. Repeat with remaining eggplant.

4. Turn the oven to 400 degrees.

5. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce in each baking dish. Using the largest slices first, set 6 slices 1/2 inch apart in each dish. Spread each slice with a rounded tablespoon of tomato sauce and sprinkle with a rounded tablespoon of Parmesan. Top with a second slice, another rounded tablespoon of tomato sauce, a basil leaf, and a slice of mozzarella. Cover with the remaining eggplant slices. Spoon 1/4 cup of tomato sauce over each stack.

6. In a bowl toss the bread crumbs, remaining Parmesan, parsley, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Top each stack with about 2 tablespoons of the crumbs. Drizzle each with a little olive oil.

7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese is melting at the edges. Set aside 4 eggplant stacks for the pasta. Serve each person 2 stacks. Spoon extra sauce around them.

Sally Pasley Vargas