Eating dairy on Chanukah is a reminder of the brave actions of Yehudis in killing the Assyrian general, Holfernes. He lost his life (deservedly so) and we rejoice in our dairy delights! This recipe is not for the faint of heart –it involves some time and some frying and some cholesterol. But it’s a real treat. This makes enough for 2 9×13-inch pans.
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
2 (29 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup pitted black olives, chopped
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup flour
4 eggs, beaten
3 cups bread crumbs
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
4 small eggplants, peeled and cut lengthwise into ½-inch slices
1 cup olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 (15 ounce) cartons ricotta cheese
1-1/4 cups fresh grated Parmesan cheese, divided
8 cups (32 ounces – yes you read that correctly) grated mozzarella cheese
Sauté garlic in oil in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add tomatoes, olives, basil, crushed red pepper and black pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour.
In the meantime, place flour and eggs in separate bowls. Combine bread crumbs, garlic and oregano and place in a third bowl or on a plate. Dip each eggplant piece first in the flour, then the eggs, then the bread crumbs. Heat oil in a large skillet and fry eggplant –about 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta cheese and ½ cup Parmesan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In each pan, place a layer of 1-1/2 cups sauce, four eggplant slices (or enough to cover), 1 cup ricotta mixture and 2 cups mozzarella. Repeat. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.