Start by making the marinara sauce because it will need time to simmer and reduce. (Feel free to use 4-6 cups boxed/canned tomatoes if you don’t have access to garden fresh.)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion; diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
8 cups tomatoes; diced (I used a combination of heirlooms from our garden- Amish paste and brandywine pink)
1/8-1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic; crushed
1/4 cup fresh basil; chopped (1 Tblsp dried)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano (1/4 cup fresh)
Preheat a pot with a wide bottom over medium heat. Add oil, onion and salt. Cover and sauté until the onions are soft, 5-8 minutes. Add tomatoes and black pepper, stir, cover, raise heat to medium high to bring tomatoes to a boil then reduced heat and allowed to simmer.
Stir occasionally until the tomatoes are cooked and fall apart making
a sauce, about 15 minutes. Add garlic, basil and oregano, stir and allow to simmer uncovered over medium-medium high heat until the sauce reduces, about 45 minutes. Watch that it doesn’t burn on the bottom as the water reduces. Once it is a thick sauce turn off/remove from heat.
My son, Angelo, is allergic to eggplant so we modify the classic eggplant parmesan by making zucchini parmesan for at least part of the meal.
2-3 eggplant or zucchini; sliced 1/3 inch thick
1-2 eggs; beaten
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil for frying
1 cup parmesan cheese; shredded (I actually used Locatelli’s pecorino romano)
1/2-1 cup mozzarella cheese; shredded (I use Trader Joe’s, even if they don’t have the organic at least it is from cows not treated with rBST)
Slice the eggplant/zucchini, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and set aside for 15-30 minutes. Combine oat flour, paprika and black pepper. (I grind oats in a coffee mill reserved exclusively for grinding gluten free grains, nuts and seeds)
Cover the bottom of a 9×13 glass or ceramic baking dish with marinara sauce (I used 2 separate dishes because I did half eggplant and half zucchini). Preheat oven to 375. Dip the eggplant/zucchini slices in the egg and dredge in the oat flour mix, knock off the excess flour. Add a generous layer of oil to the pan, heat and fry the eggplant/zucchini on each side for 2-3 minutes until golden.
Place 1 layer of the eggplant/zucchini in the baking dish, cover with parmesan/pecorino romano cheese, another layer of eggplant/zucchini and so on until the eggplant/zucchini is all fried.
Pour the marinara sauce over the eggplant/zucchini and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake in center of oven until the cheese has melted, and the dish heated through, 15-20 minutes.