This Italian favorite hits all the right cheesy, saucy notes for just a fraction of the calories and fat.
- 2 pound(s) uncooked eggplant(s), medium thickness, cut in 1/2-in-thick slices
- 6 spray(s) cooking spray
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 3/4 tsp table salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large uncooked shallot(s), finely chopped (1/2 c)
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 28 oz canned tomatoes, whole plum variety
- 3/4 cup(s) part-skim ricotta cheese
- 6 Tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano, divided
- 1/4 cup(s) basil, fresh, chopped
- 2 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup(s), shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
Adjust oven racks to divide oven into thirds. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Generously coat both sides of eggplant with cooking spray; divide among prepared baking sheets, arranging each batch in an even layer. Season with thyme, 1/4 tsp salt and ground pepper, pressing to adhere. Roast until golden brown and very tender, 20–25 minutes, turning eggplant and rotating pans halfway through.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring often, until softened, 4–5 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1/4 tsp salt; bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to break up tomatoes with a spoon. Reduce heat to medium; cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, 1/4 c Parmesan, basil and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. In a small bowl, stir together panko and remaining 2 Tbsp Parmesan.
Increase oven to 450°F. Lightly coat a 10-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 c sauce in bottom of prepared dish; top with a single layer of eggplant (10–12 slices). Dot eggplant with 1/2 c ricotta mixture. Top evenly with 1/4 c mozzarella, 10-12 slices eggplant, 1 c sauce and remaining 1/2 c ricotta mixture. Repeat layering with remaining eggplant, 1/4 c mozzarella and remaining sauce. Sprinkle evenly with panko mixture.
Bake on upper rack until top is golden and sauce is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing into 6 pieces.
Serving size: 1 piece