How To Make Rachael Ray’s Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan, a cherished dish with Italian-American roots, is a versatile and comforting meal any time of the year.

Rachael Ray’s eggplant parmesan recipes showcase this classic dish, embellished with fresh ingredients and robust flavors.

In today’s article, we’ll show you how you can enjoy her recipes at home and make the perfect eggplant parmesan for yourself.

rachael ray eggplant parmesan

Below, we’ve shared three different but equally delicious ways to make eggplant parmesan, Rachael Ray style—you just have to choose your favorite.

Let’s dig in.

1. Old-School Italian-American Eggplant Parm

Rachael Ray’s eggplant parmesan is a rich, hearty dish that starts with crafting a homemade marinara sauce. This sauce uses a base of extra virgin olive oil, into which onions and garlic are sweated until sweet and translucent.

White wine is then added to deglaze the pan, followed by the addition of hand-crushed San Marzano tomatoes and a simmer with fresh basil to infuse the sauce with depth and aroma.

The eggplants are prepared by slicing them into long, thin planks, salting them to draw out moisture, and then setting them aside to release any bitterness.

The breading process is meticulous, involving seasoned flour, beaten eggs, and a breadcrumb mixture that incorporates Parmigiano-Reggiano, dried herbs, and a pinch of chili flakes to add a subtle kick.

Each slice of eggplant is coated in this three-step process, ensuring every piece is perfectly prepped for frying.

Fried to a golden crisp, these eggplant slices develop a crunchy exterior and tender interior.

For assembly, the fried eggplant slices are layered with marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella slices in a broiler-proof dish. The layering is done generously to ensure each bite is moist and cheesy.

This stack is then broiled until the cheese bubbles and turns golden brown, creating a beautiful, appetizing top layer.

This eggplant parmesan is best presented hot, garnished with extra basil leaves and a final sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It pairs exceptionally well with a crisp, green salad tossed in a light vinaigrette and a side of garlic bread or focaccia to help soak up the rich, flavorful sauce.

2. Whole Roast Eggplant Parmigiana

Whole roast eggplant Parmigiana presents a unique and elegant twist on the traditional eggplant parmesan.

In this recipe, small eggplants are prepared by making deep cuts along their sides, creating pockets that are then stuffed with thick slices of mozzarella cheese. These eggplants are salted and left to stand, allowing them to release moisture and intensify in flavor.

The sauce for this dish is rich and aromatic, made by sautéing garlic in a mixture of olive oil and butter, to which tomatoes, onions, bay leaves, and thyme are added.

This mixture is simmered until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens, infusing it with layers of flavor.

Each eggplant is nestled into this sauce, absorbing the savory notes during the roasting process.

As the dish bakes, the eggplant becomes tender, and the cheese melts into the sauce, creating a delightful melding of flavors.

Before finishing, a breadcrumb mixture that has been toasted in the remaining garlic butter is sprinkled over the eggplants, adding a satisfying crunch and rich garlic flavor.

This dish is served by placing a whole roasted eggplant on each plate, draped in tomato sauce, and crowned with crispy breadcrumbs.

It is garnished with fresh herbs like basil and parsley, adding a burst of freshness and color.

Ideal for a special occasion, it pairs beautifully with a crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc, which complements the rich flavors without overwhelming them.

A side of light pasta or a simple green salad makes an excellent accompaniment, rounding out the meal with freshness and balance.

3. Italian Baked Eggplant With Parmesan

This Italian baked eggplant with parmesan recipe is a lighter, healthier variant of the classic dish, focusing on roasted rather than fried eggplant slices.

These eggplants are cut into thin planks, salted to remove bitterness, and then roasted in a hot oven until they are caramelized and tender. This method highlights the eggplant’s natural flavors and reduces the overall fat content of the dish.

The sauce for this baked version is a savory blend of chopped garlic, onions, tomato paste, and a splash of balsamic vinegar, giving it a unique depth and slight sweetness.

This mixture is simmered with fire-roasted tomatoes and passata until thick and flavorful. Fresh basil is stirred in at the end for a touch of herbaceous brightness.

In assembling, roasted eggplant slices are layered with this rich tomato sauce and a generous amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella cheese.

Each layer is carefully constructed to ensure the flavors meld together under the heat.

The dish is then baked until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, creating a visually appealing and deliciously aromatic meal.

Serve this baked eggplant with a side of crusty Italian bread, perfect for scooping up the sauce, and a mixed greens salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette to add a refreshing contrast to the richness of the cheeses.

This dish is versatile enough to serve as a main course or a hearty side, complemented by a robust red wine like Merlot, enhancing the meal’s savory elements without dominating the palate.

Final Thoughts

Exploring the diverse ways to prepare eggplant parmesan reveals just how adaptable and delightful eggplant can be.

From Rachael Ray’s classic rendition to innovative whole-roast and baked variations, each recipe offers a different experience.

Whether you’re looking for a comforting classic or a new twist on an old favorite, eggplant parmesan can be tailored to suit any preference, making it a staple in the repertoire of home cooks and professional chefs alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you soak eggplant before cooking?

Soaking eggplant in salt water helps to reduce bitterness and minimizes oil absorption during cooking, improving both flavor and texture.

Should you sweat eggplant before making eggplant parmesan?

Yes, sweating eggplant by salting helps to draw out moisture, which concentrates the flavors and improves texture, making it ideal for a dish like Eggplant Parmesan.

Is it necessary to peel eggplant for eggplant parmesan?

Peeling is optional and based on personal preference, as some enjoy the texture and additional nutrients the skin provides.

How do you keep eggplant parmesan from getting soggy?

Fry the eggplant slices until golden and crisp, and ensure they are well-drained before layering to prevent sogginess.

What is the best way to cut eggplant for eggplant parmesan?

Slice the eggplant into uniform planks, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, to ensure even cooking and optimal texture.

How To Make Rachael Ray’s Eggplant Parmesan

Recipe by Barbara HuntCourse: Rachael Ray


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  • Choose a recipe
  • Collect your ingredients
  • Prepare your dish
  • Enjoy.
Barbara Hunt


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