1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup black pitted olives, roughly chopped
1 ½ teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons capers, drained
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups plain dried bread crumbs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more, for frying
4 pounds large eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
2 pounds shredded mozzarella cheese
Sauce; –>> Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat . Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the olives, red pepper flakes, and capers, and cook for 2 minutes. Toss in the crushed tomatoes with the juice and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Eggplant; –>> Combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder, and oregano in a large shallow bowl, season with salt and pepper, whisk well. Put 3 of the eggs into a medium shallow bowl, season with salt and pepper and beat to mix. Put the flour in another shallow bowl, season with salt and pepper. Arrange the eggplant, flour, beaten eggs, and bread crumbs on a work surface near the stove.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, dredge several eggplant slices first in the flour, then dip them in the egg, and finally coat them in the bread crumbs. Put as many eggplant in the skillet, cook until tender and well browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
At this time, preheat the oven to 350º F. Butter a large baking dish. Set aside.
Stir together the ricotta and 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano cheese. Stir in the basil and remaining 2 eggs, and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon some of the tomato sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Add a layer of eggplant. Spread with half of the ricotta mixture. Spoon another layer of tomato sauce over and sprinkle with about one-third of the mozzarella. Repeat with a layer of eggplant, the rest of the ricotta, tomato sauce, and another third of the mozzarella. Finish with the rest of the eggplant, the rest of the tomato sauce, and the rest of the mozzarella. Sprinkle with the 3/4 cup Parmigiano. Bake for about 1 hour, or until golden and bubbling. Let stand for about 30 minutes before cutting. Serve.
Prep: 50 mins | Cook: 1 hour | Yield: 8-10 servings | Level: Intermediate