A Recipe from The Italian Cookbook (1956)
About the Recipe
I’ve been planning on making eggplant parm for years. I’ve looked at recipes, bought the eggplant, and then chickened out numerous times. It took a small (COVID responsible) gathering to push me to make it, and all I can say is WOW.
Although it feels like a lot of steps, this is actually a very easy to execute recipe. I paired it with the Basic Red Sauce from the New York Times Cookbook (1961) and it was absolutely divine, especially on a chilly northeast autumn evening.
One quick note to add on this one – It’s worth it to take the time and prep your eggplant slices. As you slice them, lay out the slices on a rack and salt one side. Wait about 10-15 minutes and then flip them and salt the other side. Then wait 10-15 minutes again before you pat them dry and move forward with the egg and bread crumbs steps. It results in a crispier, less slimy eggplant, and the extra steps are well worth it.
About the Book
This book is from the Cooking Magic set released by the Culinary Arts Institute. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorites (see the ricotta pie recipe on my Instagram page that I used earlier this year for another example of a phenomenal recipe). The one downside is that the recipes are laid out a little funky, especially compared to modern layouts.
That said, these books are always a winner and they’re still plentiful in the market. If you see one – grab it!
4 quarts water
1 T salt
3 cups (8 oz.) noodles
1 eggplant (about 1 lb.)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup undiluted evaporated milk
3 T olive oil
2/3 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (1 cup, grated)
6 slices (3 oz.) Mozzerella cheese
Grease a 2 qt. casserole having a tight-fitting cover. Prepare the sauce and set aside.
Heat to boiling the water and salt. Gradually add noodles, stirring with a fork. Boil rapidly uncovered, 10-15 min, or until noodles are tender. Test tenderness by pressing a piece against side of pan with fork or spoon. Drain by pouring into a colander or large sieve. Set aside.
Wash, pare, and cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. Set aside.
Combine eggs and evaporated milk. Heat the oil in a skillet. Dip eggplant into egg mixture, then into bread crumbs. Place eggplant in skillet and slowly brown on both sides. Meanwhile, grate and set aside cheese.
Place 1/3 of the drained noodles into the casserole. Top with 1/3 of the eggplant slices. Pour into casserole 1 cup of the sauce. Top with 1/2 of the grated cheese. Repeat layers (including sauce and cheese) ending with eggplant slices topped with sliced cheese.
Cover casserole and bake at 350*F for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake 10-15 minutes longer, or until cheese is lightly browned. Serve with remaining sauce.
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