Slow Cooker Eggplant Parmesan
◔ Serves 6-8
⧖ 30 minutes if you don't make the sauce, maybe an hour if you do. 4-5 hours cooking time.
2 large eggplants, about 1 pound each
2-3 cups bread crumbs
4 cups shredded cheese (fontina, mozzarella, provolone, or a mixture)
6 cups marinara (jar or homemade)
½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, Asiago, plain old parmesan, or whatever cheese you normally use to achieve the same effect.
16 oz. linguine, spaghetti, angel hair, or whatever pasta you have in the pantry
dried chili flakes
Slice eggplant into ¼ to ½ inch thick rounds, lay them on a flat surface, and sprinkle them with salt. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes, then pat dry with a towel.
Spray the inside of a 6 to 7 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
Prepare your mise en place:
Sliced, salted, and blotted eggplant
Eggs, whisked in a low dish wide enough for one eggplant slice
Breadcrumbs spread on a plate. You don't have to put them all on the plate at once, but keep the excess nearby for when you need more.
Marinara sauce, along with something to scoop and spread it
Start with one-quarter of your eggplant. Dredge each slice in egg, then breadcrumbs, and lay them on the bottom of the slow cooker, overlapping if necessary. Top with 1½ cups of sauce, followed by 1 cup of cheese.
Repeat for three more layers. If you have leftover bread crumbs, you can sprinkle them on top.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours, adding parmesan to the top for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Make the pasta according to the package directions, drain it in a colander, and add a splash of olive oil to the pot before transferring the pasta back to the pot. Stir it to distribute the olive oil.
Chiffonade basil and toss with pasta. Serve alongside eggplant parmesan.
Optional: Add chili flakes to each plate before serving.
Keep a bowl of water beside your mise en place or work near the sink, because you'll want to rinse egg and breadcrumbs off your fingers between layers.
Learn how to chiffonade basil. You'll feel so fancy. I know chiffonade isn't really a verb, but that's okay.
As you've probably already figured out, this won't be as crispy as eggplant parmesan made with fried eggplant, but it's a lot less trouble and probably better for you, since the eggplant won't soak up a ton of frying oil.