Lightened Up Eggplant Parmesan


1/4 cup olive oil, divided 
1/2 onion, chopped 
2 large garlic cloves, minced 
1/2 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon 
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cut lengthwise into 8 slices (1/2 in. thick) 
8 ounces water-packed fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 slices 
1/2 cup fresh oregano
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
1/2 cup crushed croutons


1. Set an oven rack in highest position and preheat oven to 350°. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add wine and let reduce by half, 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, salt, sugar, pepper, and chile flakes and simmer, stirring often, until very thick, 20 minutes.

2. Lay eggplant slices meanwhile on a greased broiler pan (they can overlap). Cover with foil. Bake until steamy and softened, 20 minutes. Uncover; brush with 1 tbsp. oil. Broil until starting to brown, then turn over and brush with remaining oil. Broil until lightly browned, 8 minutes total.

3. Put an eggplant slice on an oven-safe plate (leave broiler on). Top with 1/4 cup tomato sauce. Lay another slice of eggplant across first and spoon more sauce on top. Top with 2 slices cheese. Repeat layering on 3 more plates.

4. Broil 2 plates at a time just to melt cheese, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle each plate with about 2 tbsp. each mixed herbs and croutons. Serve with remaining sauce.

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