Maryann Mantegna’s eggplant Parmigiana recipe was handed out at her funeral services, along with the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium/large eggplant
  • 1-2 eggs for dipping the eggplant
  • Salt, ground pepper, Italian seasonings to taste
  • Favorite Italian gravy (a good jarred sauce is fine)
  • No more than 1/2 lb. of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • olive oil for frying up the eggplant

Prepare the eggplant (several hours in advance of cooking, or overnight)

  • Cut ends, peel purple skin and any “green.” Slice into “circles” ½-inch thick.
  • Put slices in a strainer and salt the slices while tossing around to cover.
  • Find a bowl big enough to fit in strainer. Put it on top of the slices and put heavy unopened cans, or whatever, as weight to press down on the eggplant. Drain for at least 5 hours, or overnight. Pat dry.

Frying the eggplant

  • Dip slices in flour, then egg, then Italian bread crumbs.
  • Fry in just enough olive oil to cover bottom of pan, until golden brown.
  • Drain on paper towels — sprinkle Italian seasonings and pepper to taste. You can add a few capers, but no more salt.

RELATED STORY: Maryann Mantegna, mom of Joe Mantegna of ‘Criminal Minds,’ dies, April 12, 2017

Baking the eggplant

  • Preheat oven 400-degrees. Lightly coat baking dish with olive oil
  • Warm up your gravy. Spoon a thin layer of gravy on the bottom of your dish.
  • Place one thin layer of eggplant slices over the gravy.
  • Sprinkle a layer of shredded mozzarella on top of the eggplant.
  • Spoon a little more gravy on top of the mozzarella.
  • Repeat—ending up with a layer of gravy mixed with cheese.
  • Grate some Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese on top for looks.
  • Bake for about 30-40 minutes. Cover the dish at first, then uncover. You’ll know.