Thursday, July 26, 2012

Home-style Tomato Sauce and Eggplant Parmesan


Every summer I get an influx of fresh produce from a local farming commune. The produce gets distributed to our community group homes. The only problem is that many of the staff in the houses don't know how to use interesting things like eggplant and fresh tomatoes to make a meal. 

I've typed up these simple recipes to help the houses turn 200 pounds of fresh farm produce into dinner.

Tomato Sauce
                ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
    2 onions, rough chopped
                3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
                5 pounds ripe red tomatoes, stemmed and chopped
                ¼ cup tomato paste
                3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1.       Warm the olive oil in a pot large enough to hold the tomatoes.
2.       Add the onion and crushed garlic; cook on medium heat until tender and slightly browned.
3.       Add tomato paste and stir to coat the onions; cook until tomato paste is slightly browned.
4.       Add chopped fresh tomatoes with juice and turn heat to LOW. Stir.
5.       Add seasonings (fresh oregano, sage, basil and thyme, if they are available).
6.       Continue to stir the sauce, allowing it to cook until it has thickened (the longer you let it cook, the thicker and more flavorful it will be).

For smooth tomato sauce, puree the thickened sauce in a blender in small batches (careful, it will be hot).

Eggplant Parmesan
3 eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
6 cups Tomato Sauce, divided
1 (16 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.       Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes on each side.
3.       In a 9x13 inch baking dish spread tomato sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses. Sprinkle basil on top.
4.       Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

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