A busy dish to make but well worth the effort with praise received.
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes, I used one seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano..it’s what I had
1 large red bell pepper, chopped, about 1 1/4 cups
1/4 large onion, chopped, about 1/2 cup
2 carrots, shredded, about 1 cup
3-6 cloves garlic, minced, about 2 Tablespoons…we like garlic!
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon basil, or to taste, not needed if both cans of tomatoes are seasoned
1/2 teaspoon oregano, or to taste, not needed if both cans of tomatoes are seasoned
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
2 Tablespoon sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/4 white pepper, or to taste
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
Stir all together, except parmesan cheese, in crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours to 6 hours.
One hour before assembling, remove excess liquid that has risen to the top. Carefully, puree sauce with an immersion blender or in the blender. Return to crock pot. Turn crock pot to high. Stir in parmesan cheese until melted. Leave top off crock pot while you bake the eggplant slices.
1 large, or 2 medium, egg plant(s), peeled and sliced 1/2″ thick, I used a mandolin
sea salt to sprinkle on egg plant
2 cups seasoned panko or bread crumbs
16 oz, 2 cups, mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced, make your own
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, shredded, divided
2 – 3 eggs, beaten
2 to 3 Tablespoons water
6 cups sauce from above
Put sliced eggplant on a racks over cookie sheets and sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit 10 to 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets and sit aside. Mix eggs and water together in a bowl and put aside. Mix parmesan and panko, or bread crumbs, together. Pat egg plant slices dry. Dip in egg wash and then in panko/parmesan mix, coating both sides. Put on cookie sheet(s) Cook for 12 minutes, turn slices over when bottom is brown, and cook another 5 to 8 minutes until brown.
To assemble: Put enough sauce in a 8 x 10 pan, that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, to cover the bottom of pan. Next goes a layer of egg plant slices. Top with more sauce and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat twice more ending with sauce and mozarella cheese. Sprinkle 1 1/4 cups parmesan cheese on top Cook in preheated 350 degrees F oven for 30 to 40 minutes until cheese has melted.