Traditional Eggplant Parmigiana - Ingredients

This Traditional Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe Is Delicious

This traditional eggplant parmigiana recipe is delicious and was a surprise to me because of my history of failed attempts at making eggplant this enjoyable.

Traditional Eggplant Parmigiana - Ingredients

This traditional eggplant parmigiana recipe became my favorite because of some of the important techniques I learned in order to make this dish correctly. In the past, cooking with eggplant was a mushy mess, but after mastering this traditional version, I realized that eggplant could be elevated to an amazing height. This recipe does take a little more time, but I can assure you that the results are worth the effort.

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

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Pasta MakerGnocchi BoardPasta BoardRavioli Maker
Ravioli Press/StamperRicerBialetti Pasta PotBamboo Cutting Board Set of 3
Silpat Baking MatSantoku KnifeMeasuring Cups and SpoonsStainless Mixing Bowls
Dutch OvenMesh StrainersStainless ColanderStainless Steel Fry Pan

Colander – 5 Qt.

OXO makes some great products that really take the home cook into account and this colander is no exception.

Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe Recommendations

  • Purging The Eggplant – One of the secrets of this dish is the purging of the eggplant. It is described below in more detail, but the TL/DR version is that after slicing the eggplant you will add salt to each slice. You stack them up and put a heavy weight on top. This will squeeze the water out and the result is a firmer vegetable.
  • Slicing The Eggplant – Most of the recipes you read for cooking eggplant (melanzane) say to slice the eggplant lengthwise. I have always found this to add to the mess when you take it out of the pan. Of course you would slice a portion with a knife, but it never failed to make a mess. Instead, I cut the slices crosswise and stacked them when I assembled the dish. This made each portion easier to remove and serve.
Traditional Eggplant Parmigiana - Sliced
  • Frying The Eggplant – This is what brings the dish up to a medium level of difficulty, but the resulting eggplant is firmer and much more flavorful. I used peanut oil for frying, but you can use any neutral oil (i.e. not Olive Oil). The results don’t make the eggplant crunchy, but it does make the skin more brittle and easier to slice with a fork at the table. You should NOT skip on this step.
  • “Pizza” Mozzarella Cheese – I usually look for the highest quality ingredients I can find here in Italy, and mozzarella cheese is no exception (usually). In this case, I found what I have heard called “Pizza” mozzarella, which is drier than a fresh mozzarella. This way your dish doesn’t get soggy and the cheese is really chewy when served. It made a huge difference.

As you can see from these recommendations, the key to cooking with eggplant is to ensure the results aren’t soggy. Using a drier cheese and purging and frying the eggplant all go to make a firmer traditional Melanzane alla Parmigiana.

Santoku Knife

The Santoku style knife is my favorite when I’m cooking and Victorinox makes a great one!

Preparing Ahead Of Time

Eggplant Parmigiana definitely tastes best immediately after it comes from the oven, but if you are pressed for time, you can prepare it from several hours to 2 or 3 days in advance. Just refrigerate it under plastic wrap when it is cooled. When you are ready to serve it, warm it up in a preheated 400°F (175° C) oven.

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Traditional Eggplant Parmigiana - Fried

Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Prep Time: 60 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Servings: 6

Frying Pan – 12 Inch

This All-Clad pan is waiting for anyone who wants to check out professional gear at home.


  • 2.5 lb. (1 kg) of Eggplant
  • Vegetable Oil for frying
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) of All-Purpose Flour spread on a plate
  • 24.5 ounces (700 grams) of tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. (400 grams) of “Pizza” Mozzarella Cheese
  • 20 fresh Basil leaves (washed)
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparing (Purging) The Eggplant

  1. Cut off the top and bottom of the eggplant, but leave on the skin to maintain the structure.
  2. Cut crosswise into slices about 3/8 inch (20 mm) thick.
  3. Line the slices against the inside of a colander and sprinkle with salt. Continue to add salt and eggplant layers to the colander until all the eggplant is used.
  4. Place a heavy pot on top of the eggplant layers and let the eggplant purge its water for 30 minutes or more. A puddle of water will collect under the colander.
  5. Before frying, dry each slice with paper towels.
Traditional Eggplant Parmigiana - Assembly

Cooking Instructions

  1. Put the tomato sauce, olive oil, ½ the basil, salt and pepper in a pan, turn the heat on to medium high and cook the sauce for about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large frying pan, add enough oil to cover the slices of eggplant and bring the oil up to a temperature of 350°F (175° C). 
  3. Dredge each eggplant slice in flour, coating them on both sides and add to the hot oil. Cook until each slice is lightly (or darkly) browned on both sides. Only a few slices at a time, enough not to overlap in the pan.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C).
  5. Dice the mozzarella into small cubes and tear each remaining basil leaf into two or more pieces.
  6. Cover the bottom of a smaller baking dish with the tomato sauce. 
  7. Put in enough fried eggplant slices in the baking dish in a single layer, spread some of the tomato sauce over them, add a layer of mozzarella cubes, sprinkle liberally with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, distribute a few pieces of basil over it, and top with another layer of fried eggplant.
  8. Repeat the previous step until the ingredients are all used, ending with a layer of eggplant on top. 
  9. Cover with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese and place the dish in the middle of the oven.
  10. Cook for around 30 minutes once it is nicely browned, take it out and let settle for several minutes (up to 30) before bringing it to the table.

Serving Suggestions For Eggplant Parmigiana

You will want to allow some time to cool, or you will be serving a big bowl of tomato and eggplant soup. This is an appetizer that is saucy, so you might add some bread to mop up your delicious, but simple tomato sauce. Other than that, this dish stands alone and will definitely impress your friends or family.

Traditional Eggplant Parmigiana - Browned And Served
I Love Burned Cheese!

Previous Italian Recipes That Might Interest You

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