Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

Eggplant.  You either love it or you hate it.

I happen to love eggplant (at least I do now), and I love Eggplant Parmesan.  Eggplant, tomato sauce, cheese, and breadcrumbs- how can you go wrong?  But I wanted to make Eggplant Parmesan that 1) could make a serving for just one person, 2) was healthy, 3) didn’t require too much active cooking time.  Seems almost impossible, but I found the answer to my quest: make it as a casserole.

While the eggplant roasts, you make your sauce and prep your cheese.  I used cottage cheese because that is what my mom always used in lasagna and other Italian dishes, but feel free to sub in ricotta if that’s what your prefer.  The assembly of the dish is throwing your ingredients together and bake.  Top the casserole with breadcrumbs for the crunch. Bake again. Then you eat it straight from the pan- food always tastes better straight from the baking dish.

People who cook for just themselves always have to cut down recipes and come up with odd calculations to make recipes work.  I am including the recipe I made for myself for dinner that makes one serving, so if you have more people to feed, welcome to the other side- it’s time for your to do some calculations.  Just multiply the ingredients, then you can either make multiple layers in a pie pan or use a larger baking pan.

EGGPLANT PARMESAN CASSEROLE
INGREDIENTS

1/2 eggplant
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1-2 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 tablespoons panko
DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°F.
  
Cut eggplant into 1/4-inch slices. Place eggplant slices on top of paper towels. Sprinkle slices liberally with salt. Let stand at least 15 minute to draw out bitterness. Pat dry. Spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until eggplant begins to brown.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, in  a small saucepan combine tomato sauce, oregano, basil, parsley, and sugar over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes, until sauce thickens.  Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a pie plate, spread a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom.  Layer eggplant slices on top.  Spread cottage cheese and mozzarella on top.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake 10-15 minutes.
Turn oven on broil.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of casserole.  Broil for 2-3 minutes, until breadcrumbs begin to brown.

Serves 1.

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