Melanzane al Forno con Pomodoro

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Doesn’t “Melanzane al Forno con Pomodoro” sound more exciting than “Eggplant Tomato Casserole”? Many thanks to Jane of Let There Be Bite for her quick Italian lesson…

I updated this recipe from a cookbook series titled “Vegetarian Gourmet” by Anna Thomas. Her books were published in the 1970’s and I have a few recipes copied from the books. I remember that Ms. Thomas was married to the actor who played “John-boy” in “The Waltons” and recall that they were raising triplets before they divorced. OK, now I have really dated myself…

I added onions, garlic, red bell pepper, lemon zest and parsley to the original recipe and replaced cheddar with parmesan. A sprinkling of panko works on top of the casserole.

It is my goal to serve more vegetarian entreés this fall and winter, so this fits the bill nicely.

Serves 3-4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaved parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • kosher salt, white ground pepper and/or red pepper flakes
  • 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Using a large skillet, heat the olive and sauté the red bell pepper and onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

3. Remove skillet from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, parsley and oregano. Set aside.

4. Place the eggplant slices in a medium-sized pan and cover with water. Cover and heat until the water boils. Reduce heat slightly and cook until the eggplant is soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash the eggplant.

5. Add the mashed eggplant to the sauteéd vegetables. Add the beaten eggs and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Pour into a greased shallow baking dish. Cover with sliced tomatoes, then the Parmesan. Top with the panko breadcrumbs.

7. Bake for about 45 minutes until hot and bubbling.

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18 Responses to Melanzane al Forno con Pomodoro

  1. Bevi October 13, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    …and then Anna married Gregory Nava and she and he produced the movie El Norte….

    I know Anna’s version of this recipe, but I like your additions – especially the lemon zest.

  2. The Wimpy Vegetarian October 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    I’m adding this to my eggplant file! It looks like a perfect fall dish! I like the idea of layering the tomatoes on top of the eggplant mixture with the breadcrumbs and cheese. Very nice.

    • lizthechef October 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

      It pulls together quickly – I first made this after skiing all day.

  3. TasteFood October 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    What a refreshing version of eggplant. I love the lemon in it.

    • lizthechef October 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

      Thanks, Lynda – enjoyed your post this morning re the sprouts in a gratin.

  4. Carol Sacks October 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Looks delicious. I look forward to meeting you at the photography workshop on Saturday!

    • lizthechef October 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

      Likewise – can’t wait for Saturday – thanks!

  5. sippitysup October 14, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    I never expected to come here and read about John-Boy Walton. But I am kinda glad I did. GREG

    • lizthechef October 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

      We can’t forget John-Boy 😉

  6. lizthechef October 14, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Happy to share anything I learn. Baby steps for me.

  7. lizthechef October 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    So funny, John-Boy seems the hit of this post – enjoy the recipe.

  8. Jayne October 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Perfect, Im always looking for new eggplant (aubergine here!) recipes. Its a vegetable I dont use much so need the inspiration, thanks!
    Ps. I love the Walton’s!

  9. Sunchowder -Wendy Read October 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Another hit in my book Liz! I adore eggplant and this recipe looks to be another keeper!

    • lizthechef October 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

      Thanks, Wendy, an easy vegetarian supper.

  10. giseleinla October 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Okay- here I go dating myself, too. I still have my copy of Anna Thomas’s vegetarian cookbook. She introduced me to dishes I still make today, and I still pull it out and look through it every once in a while 😉

    • lizthechef October 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

      I wish I had hung on to both of them, to tell the truth, but they reminded me of my ex-husband 😉 I kept her flan, though.

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