Put on a pot of water for the noodles and cook them at any point in the process once the water starts boiling. Once cooked, I leave the water in the pot and let the noodles sit in a strainer until we’re ready to serve. A minute or two before plating the food, drop the noodles back into the warm water and allow them to separate, then drain and serve.
1. In a large sauté pan, cook sausage until fully browned. You may want to drain off some of the grease but be sure to leave at least 1 tablespoon in the pan.
2. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and cook until the onions are slightly tender and fragrant.
3. Pour in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and ½ cup water, stirring to combine.
4. Add remaining sauce ingredients and cook for a few minutes, then reduce heat to simmer. Stir the sauce occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick while you prepare the eggplant.
1. Mix the Panko, Italian bread crumbs, and canned Parmesan cheese in a pie plate.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs and ¼ cup of water.
3. Set up an assembly line with your sliced eggplant, the egg wash, the breading, and an empty plate.
4. Put a piece of eggplant in the egg wash, being sure to coat both sides, then dredge in the breading, again being sure both sides are covered. Place on the empty plate and repeat the process with the remaining slices of eggplant.
5. Pour 3 tbsp. olive oil on rimmed cookie sheet and place in 425° oven for 5 minutes.
6. Once the oil is hot and beginning to smoke, place all of the prepared eggplant slices on the cookie sheet and cook for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, shred your cheese and stir your sauce.
7. Flip the eggplant over, drizzle another 2-3 tbsp. olive oil on the pan, and cook for another 5-8 minutes, until both sides are crispy and golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave the oven ON.
8. Spread a few tablespoons of sauce in a 9 x 13 pan. Layer half of the cooked eggplant slices in the pan, cover with half of the sauce and half of the shredded cheeses. Put the second layer of eggplant slices on top of the cheese then cover with the remaining sauce and top with the remaining shredded cheese.
9. Place in the oven for 10- 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted then turn the broiler on for the a few minutes until the cheese begins to brown and crisp.
10. Remove from oven and let the casserole settle for a few minutes before serving.
11. Serve over linguini with a side salad, green beans, or the veg of your choice and a slice of warm bread.