This rich, hardy, more casserole-y version of the classic is sure to knock the chill off of these (hopefully) final frigid winter nights. Here on the east coast we are experiencing record-breaking lows. It’s too cold to go outdoors so why not stay in and whip up a big batch of eggplant parm! Add a green salad, crusty bread, and a bottle of red to make a soul-satisfying meal.
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the baking sheets and foil
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup flour
2 medium eggplants
1 (16-ounce) container small-curd cottage cheese
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
6 ounces (1 ½ cups) mozzarella, grated, divided
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 ½ cups jarred marinara sauce
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly oil two large rimmed baking sheets. Beat the egg and egg whites together in a shallow bowl. Place the bread crumbs and flour in separate shallow bowls. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the bread crumbs and mix to combine.
2. Slice the eggplants into ½-inch-thick rounds. Generously salt the slices and let sit in a colander for ½ hour, or until they release some liquid. Pat dry. Dip the eggplant rounds in the flour, then the eggs (letting any excess drip off), and finally in the bread crumb mixture, pressing gently to help them adhere; transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Roast until the eggplant is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese, ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, and black pepper.
4. Spread ½ cup marinara on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Top with a layer of eggplant (8 to 12 slices) and ½ cup marinara, and dollop with a third of the ricotta mixture (about 1 ½ cups). Repeat eggplant, marinara, and ricotta layers twice. Top with the remaining ½ cup marinara. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Romano.
5. Cover the dish tightly with an oiled piece of foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.