This is Jill's favorite dish that I make. Therefore, I make it a lot! A little marital advice from principalchef: when your spouse is nice enough to be clear about what he/she likes, try to do THAT as much as you can. Of course, if that something is a bit too much, then Meatloaf was right. Where was I? Oh yes - this is Jill's favorite dish - she loves the non-fried eggplant slices, and the bread crumbs are incredible. The bread crumbs are like a dish by themselves! My thanks to Ina Garten for another great recipe!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Take 3 eggplants and slice into 1 cm wide pieces (Ina's tip: Cut the eggplant in half, lay on flat side, and cut safely and easily.)
Lay eggplant slices on cookie sheets covered with foil (you'll need 3 1/2 sheets). Brush with olive oil and season lightly with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Repeat on other side.
Roast eggplant at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn over and roast for 15 minutes until there is some brown on top. Take out of oven and cool.
While eggplant is roasting, tear french bread and place in food processor. Add garlic cloves and give it a whir until it looks like bread crumbs.
Add 1/4 cup of basil leaves to crumbs.
Process again until you have beautiful basil-ly and garlicky fresh bread crumbs. Mix with 1/4 cup olive oil, and set aside.
In a deep casserole dish, start the lasagna-style layering. Start with 1/3 of the sauce and lay 1/3 of the eggplant on it.
Add 1/3 of the fresh mozzarella, parmesan, and shredded mozzarella. Note: If you want to reduce the calories - taking out the shredded mozzarella works. It still feels very cheesy. Of course, if some cheese is good, then more cheese . . .
Repeat on for the second layer, but add the rest of the basil (chopped) to the top of that layer.
Add the third layer, then add enough bread crumbs to cover completely.
Cook at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes (until the bread crumbs are brown and the sauce is bubbling) and you are set! Let it cool for at least 10 minutes (20 is better) and you are ready to serve!
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.