The last few weeks of pregnancy can be a stressful time. When labor could start at literally any moment, every pain or twitch gets me thinking “is this it?!” I am not quite desperate to have the baby out, but just looking for a little something to speed things up naturally at this point. I did a quick google search to get a few ideas on the matter. I thought I would find stories about downing a bottle of Siracha or eating some Hunan Chicken, but to my surprise the search brought up Eggplant Parmesan over and over. Not just any old eggplant parm either. Specifically it suggested dining at Scalini’s Italian in Cobb County, Georgia where they guarantee that for around $10, their Eggplant Parmesan will give expecting moms the push they need to get the baby moving out within 48 hours or you can come back and get another plate for free. It has worked for over 300 women so far, so I thought it seemed like the perfect harmless thing to try (added bonus for being vegetarian too!). Of course going to Georgia for some Eggplant Parmesean is not exactly a practical option, however Scalini’s has been kind enough to share their magic recipe so that us nervous expectant moms everywhere can give it a go.
Let’s just talk about this recipe for one more second friends. Layers of cheese, eggplant, and marinara baked up to gooey perfection. This is the kind of thing that everyone can enjoy, not just those of us trying to induce labor. It was quite the time consuming endeavor, a labor in itself, almost two hours total. My whole family loved it, so I guess it was worth the time, maybe not that practical for a quick weeknight meal though. The original recipe said that it serves 6, and I would say that this means 6 large restaurant sized portions. It was a LOT of food!
I mostly stuck to the recipe I found here, only making some changes to make it more user friendly for you guys to make. This should in no way change the final product or its effectiveness.
Scalini’s Eggplant Parmesan
3 medium or 2 large sized eggplants
1 cup flour (I used whole wheat because it is what I had on hand)
6 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups fine Italian breadcrumbs, seasoned
olive oil for sauteing
Marinara sauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded
2 cups ricotta cheese
After you wash the eggplant, slice them into ¼ inch thick slices. Place the eggplant slices on a layer of paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt, then cover with another layer of paper towels and heavy cutting board. Let them sit for about an hour to release their excess moisture. While the eggplant are drying out get your sauce started.
Scalini’s Marinara Sauce:
4 cloves minced garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
64 ounces crushed tomatoes (two big cans)
1 medium white onion
½ cup fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper
⅛ cup fresh chopped sweet basil
pinch of thyme
pinch of rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Lightly saute the onions in olive oil in large pot for a few minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add tomatoes and bring sauce to boil. Then turn heat to low. Add remaining ingredients, stir, cover and let simmer one hour, stirring occasionally.
Now you are ready to put it all together! Set up a breading station for you eggplant.
Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Working with one slice of eggplant at a time, dust with flour, then dip in beaten eggs, then coat well with bread crumbs. Fry on both sides for about two minutes per side until golden brown. I cooked the slices 4-5 at a time to save time. The breaded eggplant will absorb all of the olive oil, so pour a little more in the pan after each batch. Place the eggplant slices on a paper towel lined plate when they are finished frying until they are all ready.
Preheat oven to 375°. Mix together the ricotta, Parmesan and Romano cheeses. In baking dish, alternate layers of marinara sauce, eggplant slices, and ricotta mix until you fill the baking dish about an 1/8th inch from the top. Cover with more marinara and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until the cheese and sauce is all nice and bubbly. Let set for 10 min before serving. Serve with some crusty bread.
Now I know what you are wondering, did it throw me into labor? Well, not yet. I haven’t quite reached the 48 hour time frame, so I guess the verdict is still out on this one. Did it make for a really nice dinner with the family? Yes! Yes it did indeed.