Photo by Tya Tiempetch

The Wasatch Front food scene is dominated by Italian cuisine, thanks to the Italians who immigrated here generations ago. We also have a solid middle ground of Italian restaurants featuring what we all used to think of as Italian food—red sauce with pasta. Or “gravy,” as they call it back East. But a good marinara isn’t just for putting on pasta, as you can see in this recipe from Barb Freda.

Eggplant Marinara
Serves 8

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds eggplant, sliced into ½-inch rounds
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cups prepared red sauce
½ cup bread crumbs with chopped parsley, dried oregano and grated Romano cheese
½ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour olive oil into a 9-x-13-inch baking dish, spreading to cover the bottom. Sprinkle garlic over the oil. Cover with one layer of eggplant slices and 1/4 of the sliced onion. Cover thickly with sauce and sprinkle some bread crumbs over all, followed by some of the basil. Repeat for 3 additional layers, finishing with bread crumbs and reserving remaining basil for garnish. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake until eggplant is fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes to crisp bread crumbs. Remove from oven, and let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Garnish with remaining basil.