Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Total Time
1 Hour 45 Mins
Yield
10 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

The traditional version of this Italian-American classic is known to tip the scales: heavily breaded and fried eggplant slices that are then buried in cheese and baked. Our makeover skips the fry and bakes the panko-crusted eggplant until it has a crisp exterior and wonderfully meaty interior. A combination of part-skim ricotta, sliced mozzarella, fontina, and Parmesan cheese allows for even coverage without hiding the eggplant or adding too much fat. Since the recipe debuted, jarred marinara brands have gotten wise to the need for options with less sodium. Our preferred brand is Dell'Amore, though you can use any low-sodium sauce you like.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°.

Step 2

To make eggplant, combine 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon water in a shallow dish. Combine panko and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a second shallow dish. Dip eggplant in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere and shaking off excess. Place eggplant 1 inch apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden, turning once and rotating baking sheets after 15 minutes.

Step 3

To make filling, combine basil and next 6 ingredients (through egg).

Step 4

To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of eggplant slices over pasta sauce. Sprinkle eggplant with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Top with about 3/4 cup pasta sauce; spread half of ricotta mixture over sauce, and top with a third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina. Repeat layers once, ending with about 1 cup pasta sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Remove foil; top with remaining third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese melts; cool 10 minutes.

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