Mario is combining two classic favorites into one delicious meal!
EGGPLANT PARMESAN :
1/4 cup olive oil
1 eggplant (sliced into 1/4-1/2-inch thick disks)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup basic tomato sauce (http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/basic-tomato-sauce-mario-batali, plus additional warmed to serve)
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground pork
1 pound loose fennel sausage
2 cups parmesan cheese (grated, divided)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 eggs (lightly beaten)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup basic tomato sauce
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and top with a piece of plastic wrap.
For the Eggplant Parmesan: Heat a large non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat with olive oil. Place a baking rack inside of a baking sheet.
Season the eggplant with salt and pepper. Prepare three baking dishes, the first with flour, second with eggs and third with panko. Dredge the eggplant slices first in flour, shaking off any excess, then dip in egg and finally dredge in panko, shaking off any excess. Place in the saute pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to the prepared baking sheet. Allow to cool completely.
In a large bowl add the ground chuck, ground pork, fennel sausage, 1 cup parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, dried oregano and season with salt and pepper, mix to combine. Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour.
Remove the meat mixture to the plastic wrap and make a 12×10-inch rectangle, about 1/2-inch thick. Top with slices of eggplant, then slices of mozzarella cheese, and last the marinara sauce. Starting with the long end of the plastic wrap closest to you, tightly roll up the meatloaf, tucking the filling in and using the plastic wrap to guide you. Bring the ends together to seal the meatloaf. Discard the plastic.
In a small bowl add the 1 cup of tomato sauce and remaining 1 cup of parmesan cheese and mix to combine. Brush the mixture all over the outside of the meatloaf. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165ºF. Tent with foil after the first 30 minutes if browning too quickly. Serve with additional tomato sauce.
Tip: Perfect way to use up leftover eggplant parmesan! If you prefer to stuff with something else, try using cooked greens such as swiss chard or kale.