Everyday with Rachel Ray……

Alright, every day might be a bit much for some of us, but this recipe rocks. And before you get started, here are some of my little asides on the matter: if you don’t have the meat, or don’t eat meat, forget about it. If you can’t get smoked mozzarella, no big deal. In fact, I didn’t care for the recipe when made with the smoked mozzarella. I use the fresh mozz from Costco, where the two logs come packed in brine and sell for about $7.00. Awesome. This tomato sauce recipe is really good…..fast, easy and very tasty. I made an extra large batch of it and froze some to have on hand.

Rachel’s eggplant stacks from the May issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray
2 eggplants, cut into twelve 1-inch-thick slices (she used the regular Black Beauty, commercially available)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 slices hot capicola (an Italian ham) or prosciutto
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (eyeball it)
One 28-ounce can crushed or diced fire-roasted tomatoes
Pinch ground cinnamon
10 basil leaves, torn or chopped
1 pound smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 12 slices

1. Preheat an outdoor grill or a grill pan to medium-high. Brush both sides of the eggplants with EVOO (about 1/4 cup total) and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Grill the capicola slices for 1 minute on each side.
2. While the eggplant cooks, in a medium saucepan, heat the remaining EVOO on the grill or over medium-high heat on the stove. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cinnamon; season lightly with salt and heavily with pepper and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil.
3. Pour a little of the sauce into a shallow, flameproof baking dish and spread to cover the bottom. Make 4 stacks of 2 repeating layers of eggplant, capicola and cheese. Top each stack with the remaining eggplant slices, some sauce and the remaining slices of cheese.
4. Set the baking dish on the grill and cover the grill (or place under the broiler), and cook until the cheese melts. Carefully transfer the stacks to plates, spooning extra sauce on the plate.

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I must say, the eggplants are doing very nicely in my garden. Good thing because every thing else is suffering from heat stroke including moi.