|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|
|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