2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 small onion, very finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pasted (minced then mashed with salt) or grated
1 can San Marzano tomatoes (28 ounces)
1 can tomato sauce or purée (14 ounces)
A handful of basil leaves, torn, plus a few for garnish
Salt and pepper
4 small, firm eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
Flour, for dredging
2 large eggs, beaten with a splash of water
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (eyeball it)
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (a handful)
Olive oil, for frying
1 pound ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 pound egg tagliatelle or fettuccine
2 tablespoons butter
Heat the EVOO in a saucepot over medium heat; add the onion and cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and sauce or puree, some torn basil, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, while breaking up the tomatoes.
Meanwhile, season the eggplant slices with salt and let them drain in a colander for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 375˚F.
Using three shallow dishes, coat the eggplant slices in flour, the beaten eggs, then the breadcrumbs mixed with 3/4 cup (3 handfuls) of cheese and parsley.
Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the eggplant for 3-4 minutes on each side, then drain the slices on paper towels set over a cooling rack. Heat up more olive oil in the pan, if necessary, and repeat the frying process until all the eggplant is cooked.
Dot a casserole dish with some of the tomato sauce, then arrange the eggplant in an overlapping layer. Dot the eggplant with more sauce and top with the mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbly.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add salt and the pasta and cook to al dente, then drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Toss the pasta with butter, a handful of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and the tomato sauce.
Serve the eggplant parm with the pasta alongside.