Chokes and Eggplant Parmigiano

Eggplant Parmesan is always an elegant meal, but I decided to amp it up just a bit by adding another of my favorite veggies, artichokes. Since I don’t live in an area where artichokes are sold at the “young” stage, rather than cook and dice several to make this dish, I used canned. Feel most free to use the real thing of course.

I also used my own marinara sauce, but you can substitute with a favorite store-bought variety should you have one.

In any case, with a salad and some hot garlic bread, you have a real great meal. And don’t forget to add a nice glass of Chianti to round it out.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Several small eggplants of the Japanese variety or one large regular eggplant.
  • About 3 cups of marinara sauce
  • 8 oz or so of fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1 c grated good quality Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 15 oz can of artichoke hearts, diced

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Slice the eggplant in 1/4 inch slices long ways for the Japanese variety. For the regular, it’s usually best to salt the slices, pile in a colander and weigh it down. After about 30 minutes, rinse and pat dry.
  2. Liberally brush olive oil on the slices and place on a cookie sheet that is brushed with oil as well or use parchment paper which also has been oiled a bit. Bake at 425° until browned and done. Usually no more than about 20 minutes.
  3. Place 2/3 of a cup of the marinara into the bottom of your baking dish, layer some eggplant, scatter some pieces of the artichokes, and scatter about a third of the mozzarella. Do a second layer, and then a third.
  4. Top all with the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake in a 375° oven until heated through and browned lightly on top.

Serves: 6-8

NOTE: You can add a layer of ricotta cheese into which you have stirred 1 egg until blended and 1/2 c of Parmesan cheese. Also you could add about 2/3 of a pound of Italian sausage either diced, sliced, or crumbled in each layer as well. Or add some zucchini or other summer squash.

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