Prep : 1 hour Bake : 35 minutes + standing Serves 8
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian stewed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/4 teaspoon salt , divided
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 medium eggplant , peeled and cut into 3/8-inch slices
***Additional vegetable oil ***
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pound ground beef , cooked and drained
2 cups (8ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese , divided
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1. In a large saucepan , sauté the onion , celery , parsley and garlic powder in oil until tender . Stir in the tomatoes , tomato paste , oregano , 1/2 teaspoon salt , 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bay leaf . Bring to a boil . Reduce heat ; cover and simmer for 1 hour . Discard bay leaf.
2. In a shallow dish , combine flour and remaining salt and pepper . Place buttermilk in another shallow dish . Dip eggplant in buttermilk then in flour mixture .
3. In a large skillet , cook eggplant in batches in 1-inch hot oil until golden brown on each side ; drain.
4 . Place half of eggplant in a greased 13-inch X 9-inch baking dish . Top with half of parmesan cheese , beef , tomato mixture and mozzarella cheese . Top with remaining eggplant , Parmesan cheese and beef and tomato mixture .
5. Bake , uncovered , at 350* for 30 minutes or until heated through . Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese . Bake 5 to 10minutes longer or until cheese is melted . Let stand for 10 minutes before serving . Sprinkle with parsley.