Special equipment: One 9-inch-by-2-inch-deep pie plate
Combine the panko, Romano, parsley and pepper in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Bread the eggplant slices by first dipping them in egg and then coating them thoroughly with the panko mixture. Overlap the eggplant slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Line another baking sheet with a double-layer of paper towels. Heat 1/2-inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, carefully slide in several of the eggplant slices. Cook until crispy and well browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on the paper towels. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding olive oil to the pan as needed.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To assemble the pie, spoon 1 cup of the Sunday Gravy sauce over the bottom of the pie plate. Add a layer of eggplant and sprinkle 2 cups of the shredded mozzarella over the top. Repeat two more times, layering 1 cup sauce, eggplant and 2 cups mozzarella. Finish with the remaining 1 cup sauce and 2 cups mozzarella.
Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake 30 minutes more, or until the cheese is golden brown in spots and bubbling. Let stand for 20 minutes before cutting.
You can substitute making the Sunday Gravy with any basic homemade tomato sauce or use your favorite store-bought tomato sauce.
A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Michele Riggi