This is one of our favorite meals & my husband requests it quite often, with a huge salad, and crisp crunchy homemade cheesy garlic bread. My husband loves lots of meat, so I always at least double the quanity of meat, I prefer to use ground round, so there is very little fat.But Ground Chuck works very well also. Simmering the sauce allows the spices to blend better.
1PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES F. Saute' onions in 2 tablespoons oil: add garlic and ground round. Stir until browned. Drain any excess fat that accumulates then add tomatoes, broken up, tomato paste, oregano , basil, pepper and brown sugar. Bring to a boil; Stir. Reduce heat to low cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir occassionally to prevent sticking.
2Lightly spray a 13 X 9 X 2 inch dish. Wash and peel eggplants if desired; cut crosswise into slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Combine eggs with 1 tablespoon water in a shallow dish.
3In a separate bowl mix bread crumbs with 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Mix well. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture to coat evenly. Then dip in crumb mixture and coat evenly.
4Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and saute eggplant slices a few at a time till golden brown,adding more oil as needed. Remove to paper towel to drain. Repeat steps until all eggplant is cooked.
5Arrange half of cooked slices on bottom of prepared dish. Sprinkle with half of remaining parmesan cheese. Then top with half of shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese. Cover with half of tomato sauce mixture. Arrange remaining egg plant slices on top of tomato sauce, cover with remaining tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the top with remaining Parmesan Cheese.
6Bake uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes until heated through, or until cheese is slightly browned on top. Serve with your favorite salad and garlic bread. It is worth all the extra effort.
7NOTE: Panko Bread crumbs is a Japanese bread crumb, and can be found in most large supermarket. I use so much of them I order in bulk from Amazon.