Eggplant Lasagna (Eggplant Tina)

This is my version of the terrific dish called eggplant Tina at Tony Angello’s restaurant in New Orleans’ Lakeview neighborhood. It’s one of the best-loved dishes there, served to a majority of the customers every night. It’s essentially a lasagna made with eggplant in the place of pasta, and a great deal of Romano cheese. The sweetness of Mr. Tony’s sauce balances the bitterness of the eggplant.

Or it did. In case you haven’t heard, the restaurant is leaving the business shortly or already has. There is a possibility that it will return under the management of the current staff, but it will be in a different location. (Tony Angello himself passed away a couple of years ago.) So, to eat eggplant Tina again, you’ll have to make it yourself.

  • Sauce:
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 28-oz. cans Italian plum tomatoes, whole
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Other ingredients:
  • 1 large eggplant (or two small)
  • 8 oz. Fontina cheese
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz. Provolone cheese (shredded)
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Make the sauce first. Drain the tomatoes (reserve the juice) and put them into a food processor; chop to a rough puree. (You can also do this with your fingers in a bowl.)

2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat till the oil shimmers. Saute the garlic and crushed red pepper for about a minute–until it’s fragrant.

3. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the reserved juice, basil, oregano, and salt. Bring to a boil, and lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about twenty minutes, uncovered. Then keep on the lowest possible heat while you continue with the rest of the recipe.

4. While that’s going on, get started on the eggplant. Preheat the broiler to 500 degrees. Peel the eggplant, then slice it from end to end as uniformly as you can, about a quarter-inch thick. Sprinkle the slices on both sides with what seems like too much salt. Line a colander with the eggplant slices. Fit a bowl into the colander and weigh it down with a few cans of vegetables. Put this entire assembly into the sink and let it drain for a half-hour. Then rinse off the salt from the eggplant, and spread out on paper towels to dry.

5. Brush the eggplant slices with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Spread the slices out on a baking sheet or pizza pan, and put the pan into the preheated broiler about three inches below the heat. Roast until the eggplant begins to brown. Remove the eggplant slices, and lower the oven to 350.

6. Coat the inside of a glass or ceramic baking dish (about 9″ x 13″ x 4″) with olive oil. Pour about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom. Make the following layers, cutting the eggplant to fit:

1/3 cup sauce.
Fontina cheese.
1/4 cup Romano.
1/3 cup sauce.
1/4 cup Romano.
1/3 cup sauce.
1/4 cup Romano.
1/3 cup sauce.
Remaining sauce.

7. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake in the center of the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven until a light crust has formed on the top.

8. After removing from the oven, let the lasagna rest for at least 15 minutes before attempting to slice. Serve with a wide metal spatula to keep the layers from sliding around (almost impossible for the first slice).

Serves about eight.

2 Readers Commented

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  1. James Dale Kiser on October 17, 2015

    Eggplant Lasagna (Eggplant Tina)

    The ingredients do not list spinach but spinach is included in the first layer of the directions.
    Is spinach in the original “Tina” recipe or not?
    We ate at Chateau De Lac on Metairie Rd last night. Salmon app, Roast Duck. Service great, food very good.