Southern Italian food represents what foodies think of as Italian food. Lasagna is at the core of that picture in our minds. Each layer of lasagna is like another layer of influence in that region of Italy. From the Greeks to the Arab nations, we have learned and perfected goodness into greatness.
This is an easy lasagna recipe to make. It really is! The prep work takes a little bit of time but who says you have to do it all in one day. Split it up and do some prep the day before.
I fry the eggplant the day before for two reasons.
It gets some of the prep out of the way and the Eggplant acts like an oil sponge. It will soak up a bunch of oil when you first start to cook it and then when it's cooked it will ooze right back out.
Cooking Hint: Fry the eggplant and set it on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil.
So if you do prep the day before, cut two large eggplants into inch slices, fill a deep pan way with cooking oil and heat on high. Don't fry with Olive oil because it burns too quickly. Use vegetable oil.
Deep fry until golden brown on each side.
Now for the rest of the ingredients:
3-4 cups of my Marinara Sauce Recipe (you have to judge more or less)
2-3 cups Ricotta Cheese (you have to judge more or less)
1 lb Lasagna pasta
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Cheese
Follow my Bechamel Sauce recipe
A good quality pasta won't break when you boil it or fall apart when you handle the noodles. So use a good one like Barilla and De Cecco.
The trick to boiling lasagna noodles is don't mess with them. Put them in one at a time and when they start to sink in the water give them a stir or two and then try to separate with a wooden spoon in between them. Now leave them alone!
Maybe stir once or twice, but that's it.
When you remove the lasagna noodles, rinse in cold water, toss in a little olive oil and set aside.Let's build this eggplant lasagna recipe in a 3 inch high, 13 x 9 lasagna pan:
Layer #1: Lasagna pasta
Layer #2: Fried Eggplant
Layer #3: Ricotta Cheese
Layer #4: Marinara sauce, just a light layer
Layer #5: Lasagna pasta
Layer #6: Fried Eggplant
Layer #7: Marinara Sauce just a light layer
Layer #8: Lasagna pasta
Layer #9: Grated Parmigiano
Layer #10:Bechamel Sauce
Place in an oven set at 350 for about an hour. When you see the sides bubble then it's ready. I like to brown my lasagna on the top so I usually kick on the broiler for about a minute.