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Rosa's Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Captured by The Recipe Hunters

in Calabria, Italy

Homemade Fusilli Calabrese Recipe Photo

Layers of

juicy eggplant, melted cheese, prosciutto, & homemade sauce

Eggplant Parmesan or Melanzane Parmigiana is a symbol of Southern Italy. Southern Italy is known for its robust agriculture, it’s delicious eggplant dishes, tomatoes, and, more importantly, it’s traditional cuisine.


There is no better time in Italy than eggplant season! There are thousands of ways in which southerner's large, delicious, and plentiful eggplants are used in cooking. When asking a southerner what they miss the most from mom’s cooking, it is usually met with a response “Ohhh my mom makes the best melanzane parmigiana." Eggplant parm is found throughout all of southern Italy, but each house has their own unique way of making it with little tricks that make all the difference. We had to find a grandma of our own to show us her recipe. Check out the Calabrese Eggplant Parmesan recipe made with love by Rosa in Monasterace, Italy!

Ingredients for Rosa's Eggplant Parmesan

Recipe for Rosa's Eggplant Parmesan

  1. In a medium sized pot add 1 diced red onion with 1/2 cup of olive oil and heat over medium-high flame, stirring occasionally so that the onions do not burn

  2. Once the onions begin to fizzle in the oil, add 800 g of whole peeled tomatoes, 1/2 cup of water, and a pinch of salt and stir

  3. Turn the heat down to low, slightly cover the pot and allow the sauce to simmer while you prep the eggplant


Prepping the Eggplant

  1. Remove the green part of the eggplant and wash the eggplants under cold water

  2. Cut the eggplants lengthwise in half, then face the eggplants white-side down and slice horizontally into 1 cm thin slices (see photo)

    Made with Love Tip: If you do not like the peel, you can cut the skin off but I like the way it tastes.
  3. Lay the slices of eggplant in a large bowl and after every layer sprinkle the eggplant with seasalt, repeat this step until the eggplants are all sliced.


Removing the liquid from the Eggplant slices:

  1. Once all of the eggplant slices are in the bowl, firmly press down on them with your hands, add a plate on top of them, and over the plate place a heavy weight. 

  2. Every 5 minutes, remove the weight and turn the eggplants, adding a little sprinkle of seasalt as you move them around. 

  3. Once you can see a pool of brown clear water at the bottom of the bowl and the eggplants are soft, remove the weight and bring them to close to your stovetop (approx 30 min).

Frying the Eggplant slices:

  1. In a large frying pan add 1 cm height of vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat.

  2. Prepare a large straining bowl with a double layer of paper towel to collect the excess oil from the fried eggplant slices. 

  3. Once the oil is hot enough (place a slice of eggplant in the oil and if it sparks and pops, then it is ready if not wait until it does) place a layer of eggplants in the pan and brown the eggplants on both sides.

  4. Once both sides are browned, place them on the paper towels in the bowl to drain the excess oil. Repeat this step until all slices are browned.

Layering the Eggplant Parmesan in a Large Deep Pan (9-by-9-inch, 10-by-5-inch or 10-by-6-inch baking pan):​​

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (176° C)

  2. Add a layer of olive oil in a large deep pan

  3. Now layer the following

Tomato sauce,

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana, 

Grated Pecorino Romano,

Bread Crumbs,

Fried eggplant slices as close together as possible,

Prosciutto slices

Thinly sliced mozzarella.

  1. Continue to layer until you have run out of ingredients.

  2. Once you are done layering, place the eggplant parmigiano in the oven for 45 minutes.

  3. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving

  4. Remember to eat your Eggplant Parmesan with Love!

Rosa's Eggplant Parmigiano

 Recipe Photos

Rosa Layering the Eggplant Parmesan Video

Written by The Recipe Hunters:

 Leila Elamine and Anthony Morano

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