Healthy Italian: Serve up vegetable napoleon

Fall harvest is filled with vegetables hearty enough to star as the main course. Here, chef Sal Scognamillo from Patsy's Italian restaurant makes a simple but flavorful vegetarian recipe the whole family will love.

Vegetable Napoleon

Makes 10 servings


    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds), ends trimmed, peeled. And cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound), ends trimmed, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
    • 1 pound spinach, washed and trimmed
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tablespoons butter, for greasing pan
    • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 cups tomato Sauce
    • 2 roasted red bell Peppers, cut into 1/4 inch strips
    • 1 pound mozzarella, diced into small cubes
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


Baking Directions:

Spread the flour on a large plate. Lightly coat the eggplant slices with flour and then dip in the beaten eggs. Heat ¼ cup of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high flame. Fry the eggplant slices, turning to cook on both sides, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove. Place on paper towels to drain, and reserve.Add the remaining ¼ cup of oil and the zucchini to the skillet and sauté until just lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove zucchini and place on paper towels to drain.Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a pot fitted with a steamer insert. Chop the spinach, add to the steamer, cover tightly, and steam for 3 minutes. Drain and press out as much water as possible. Add more oil to the skillet if necessary. Over medium heat, sauté the steamed spinach with the minced garlic until the spinach is just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from the skillet and place on paper towels to drain.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.Butter the bottom and insides of a nonstick loaf pan, about 9x13 inches. Lightly coat with the bread crumbs. While building the Napoleon, season each vegetable layer with salt and pepper. Begin by placing a layer of the cooked eggplant atop the bread crumbs. Spoon ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) of tomato sauce over the eggplant, followed by a layer of the cooked zucchini, the red pepper, spinach, and mozzarella. Moisten each layer with some sauce and a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano, bread crumbs, and basil.  The final layer should be eggplant, finished with sauce.Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until all ingredients are heated through.  Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight) to firmly set before unmolding.When ready to serve, remove the foil and run a knife along the inside edge of the pan.  Place a serving dish on top of the pan and quickly invert. Spoon additional sauce around the Napoleon and sprinkle generously with grated cheese before serving.