RECIPE

Eggplant and Provolone Stacks

I made Eggplant & Provolone Stacks based on an appetizer my mom had when she was in Italy. I had leftover cherry tomato sauce from that, so I cooked up some spaghetti and tossed it with the sauce for a simple pasta dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 small, firm eggplant, thinly sliced crosswise into 28 slices
  • Rachael Ray Buon Appetito! Italian Seasoning  or pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus more for sautéing the eggplant
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, shaved or very thinly sliced
  • 1 red Fresno chile, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups tomato passata or tomato puree
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 3/4 pound very thinly sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat 4 cups of a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin with a little bit of olive oil spray.

 Salt the eggplant slices and let them sweat and drain on paper towels for a few minutes.

Season the eggplant with the Italian Seasoning (or you could just use pepper). Lightly dredge the eggplant in flour and shake off the excess. Working in small batches (only the number of slices that will fit in a single layer), sauté the eggplant in a little EVOO over medium to medium-high heat until nice and browned and crispy, just a couple of minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.

In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO (2 turns of the pan), add the garlic and chile, and sauté to soften. Add the cherry tomatoes, tomato passata, and basil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes.

To assemble the stacks, spoon a few teaspoons of the sauce in between layers of the eggplant, layering with provolone and a sprinkle of Parm as you go. Layer all the way to the top of the cups. Just keep pressing down and pressing down to fill up the cups. (Reserve the remaining cherry tomato sauce to toss with spaghetti.)

Bake until the cheese melts and the stacks are heated through, about 15 minutes.

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