Is it possible to get the recipe for Varuni Napoli’s Eggplant Parmesan? We were told it was from the owner’s grandmother. It did taste like comfort food from grandma’s kitchen. The eggplant was surprisingly thin and the sauce wasn’t too heavy. — Paula Andrews, Decatur
This dish is indeed a variation on a recipe from Luca and Benedetto Varuni’s grandmother. “In Italy there are different types of parmigiana, and my brother Benedetto and I make the Neapolitan type,” said executive chef and owner Luca Varuni.
At the restaurant, the Ragu is made in large batches with the whole tomatoes pureed through a tomato grinder before the cooking begins. We suggest an alternative for the home cook since a tomato grinder is not in most of our kitchen tool kits.
The criss-cross arrangement of eggplant slices as the dish is assembled is pretty although not strictly required. Varuni says, “In Italy, we used to make a big tray of parmigiana and we always crossed the layers, so we do it the same way in the restaurant.” Crossing the layers and cutting the larger slices in half helps to even out the volume because the slices vary in size. Serve it as the restaurant does with slices of toasted Italian bread to sop up the extra Ragu.
From the menu of … Varuni Napoli, 1540 Monroe Drive, Atlanta. 404-709-2690. varuni.us
Is there a recipe from a metro Atlanta restaurant you’d like to make at home? Tell us and we’ll try to get it. We’ll also test it and adapt it for the home kitchen. Because of volume, we can’t answer all inquiries. Send your request, your address and phone number to email@example.com and put “From the menu of” and the name of restaurant in the subject line.