South Carolina food writer Anne Wolfe Postic shares her fantastic (and flexible!) recipe for slow cooked eggplant Parmesan.
Back in the nineties, when I was in college, my mom came up to Montréal for a visit. (How a girl from South Carolina ended up at Mcgill University in Canada is a whole ‘nother story.) I left her a key because I was in class when she arrived. It was snowing that day, much like it was most days between October and May, and when I opened the outer door of my apartment building and came in from the cold, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia. Actually, it was just the smell of my mom’s spaghetti, which had permeated the entire building. It had been a long time since I’d come home to a hot meal and it had never smelled so good. Turns out Mom’s spaghetti was even better after a walk home in the snow, which we had no way of knowing in South Carolina.
When I use my slow cooker, it’s like having Mom come for a visit. It smells like someone’s been cooking for me all day, mostly because I forget things pretty easily so I barely remember prepping the meal and setting up the slow cooker hours before. Isn’t that nice for me? The slow cooker makes me feel like someone cares, and it also means walking in the door to a ready-made meal at the end of the day, no (more) cooking required.
Putting some time in between the work of making the meal and the actual meal makes for a more relaxing dinner, don’t you think? I’ll be the first to admit that eggplant Parmesan is kind of a pain, but I like it because I usually only need to buy two ingredients — eggplant and cheese — to make it happen. I have everything else already: marinara sauce (tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, a little seasoning), breadcrumbs (always have a bag in the freezer, because what else do you do with stale bread?), and eggs. I may even have the cheese, because I’m not super picky about the cheese for eggplant parmesan. Yes, I understand that means it isn’t really eggplant Parmesan, but more like eggplant mozza-fontina-jack-olone. But melted cheese is pretty great no matter what variety.
Watch: Slow Cooker Rules for Soup
So here are two recipes, one for slow cooker lasagna and one for the marinara sauce to go with it. I really don’t expect you to make your own marinara if that’s not your jam (or, um, sauce) but I just want you to know how easy it is. You probably already have everything you need to make it. In fact, it’s so easy, you should skip the eggplant Parmesan and just have pasta marinara for dinner. Or go ahead and have the eggplant Parmesan, but make extra marinara so you can have that another night.
Whichever choice you make for dinner tonight, I can promise one thing: Your kitchen’s going to smell delightful. And if you go with the slow cooker? You may be able to trick yourself into thinking someone’s been cooking for you all day.
Anne Wolfe Postic is a freelance writer living in South Carolina with her husband, their three sons, and a fluffy white dog. She travels with relish (and often a jar of Duke’s mayonnaise). She cooks her feelings and invites people over to eat them. Anne writes and blogs about parenting, etiquette, healthy eating, home cooking, and traveling. She recommends taking all of her advice with a huge chunk of salt.