I have been talking a lot lately about how busy I have been all summer. Picking corn, boxing corn, delivering corn all over Upstate New York (not really, it just feels that way), and while I was busy, I was also driving a pick-up truck around the majority of then time, which gave me TONS of time to jam out some guilty pleasure-esque old 80’s pop songs, and think. One of my most reoccurring thoughts was family dinner.
Admittedly, I am in my end of summer dinner rut.
When I was asked to try out the new Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Pasta Sauces I obviously couldn’t wait to cook with it. Yes, I have made very large batches of my own pasta sauce before but honestly, I didn’t love spending a whole day over the vegetable strainer, and seriously this sauce is just that – homemade. There’s no added sugar, no paste and no shortcuts and they are made from 100% hand-selected plum tomatoes. The Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Pasta Sauces ingredient list reads like a shopping list for the farmers market, and is stuff you would actually put into your own homemade sauce, you know, if you enjoy that sort of thing. The sauce comes in some amazing flavors like Marinara,Tomato & Sweet Basil, , Roasted Garlic & Caramelized Onions, Parmesan, Spicy Marinara Asiago, & Romano & Wild Mushroom. While they are all tempting, my favorite is Tomato & Sweet Basil! It’s so good, it really made my Eggplant Parmesan very tasty.
And guys, Mezzetta knows sometimes we need a little dinner-time inspiration when it comes to Family Dinner Night and wants to help make your family dinner night special, so right now they have an awesome giveaway and you could win a Perfect Pasta Night Kit from Mezzetta! There’s lot to win including all 6 new Homemade Pasta Sauces + $500 Grocery Gift Card, and lots of other goodies! What are you waiting for? Enter now to win!
Eggplant Parmesan is usually my first fall comfort food dish I make, and always busts me out of my end of summer dinner time rut. It isn’t complicated, but there are a few steps. You may be tempted to skip the first step, but don’t! Eggplant are surprisingly full of moisture, and by drawing some what before baking you avoid the whole soggy eggplant situation. Also, by baking the eggplant slices instead of frying them, the whole thing is super manageable, and clean up is pretty easy! The Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Tomato & Sweet Basil Sauce adds amazing homemade flavor, without all the work. My family loved it, Goodbye dinner rut!!
- 2 1/4 lbs (about 2 large) eggplants
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 24 oz Mezzetta® Tomato &Sweet Basil Sauce, or flavor of your choice
- 1 1/2 cups seasoned dry breadcrumbs
- 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 3/4 cup flour
- 4 eggs, beaten (more if needed)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more to oil the sheet pans)
- 1 pound shredded mozzarella
Slice the eggplants into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick rounds.
Lay the eggplant slices out on a rack over a rimmed sheet pan (or on several layers of paper towels). Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant rounds lightly with salt. Let the eggplant rounds sit and release moisture for 2 hours.
Combine 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and place in a shallow bowl or rimmed dish. Set up your breading station so that you have flour in one shallow bowl, beaten eggs in another bowl, and the breadcrumb-cheese mixture in another, in that order.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Spread a tablespoon of olive oil each over the bottom of two rimmed baking sheet pans. Pat dry the eggplant slices with paper towels. Working one at a time dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour, then dip in the beaten eggs, and then dredge in the breadcrumb parmesan cheese mixture.
6Place on oiled sheet pan. Drizzle a little oil over the top of each breaded eggplant round. Cook the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, turning the slices over halfway through cooking, continue to cook until they are nicely browned. Remove from oven, and let cool until they are cool enough to handle.
Spread 1/2 cup of Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade on the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Place a third of the eggplant rounds in a single layer covering the sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Layer half of the shredded mozzarella on top of the eggplant rounds. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
Place another third of the eggplant rounds over the cheese. Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the eggplant rounds. Layer the rest of the sliced mozzarella over the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of grated Parm.
Add the remaining eggplant in a single layer on top of the cheese. Top with the remaining sauce and the remaining Parmesan.
Bake uncovered at 350°F for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into to serve.
by Jennifer Morrisey
Be sure to head over to Mezzetta’s website for your chance to win $500 in a grocery gift card and lots of other goodies as part of their perfect pasta night giveaway! Then come back here and comment below with your favorite Mezzetta pasta sauce flavor!