Red Sauce America - Food, Culture, and Italian American Experience

Molignane alla parmisciana

By on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022 at 8:32 am | 636 views

Eggplant parm

An early version of eggplant parmigiana from the 19th century, published in dialect, Molignane alla parmisciana is perhaps the first evidence of the origin of the modern dish.

Ippolito Cavalcanti’s Cucina teorico-pratica presents a number of recipes we would recognize, such as a spaghetti and tomato sauce. The eggplant recipe for a dish baked with cheese and sauce is very close to the modern American eggplant parmigiana.

In most cases, eggplant is first fried, usually with a coating of breadcrumbs or flour or both. Cavalcanti’s version skips this step, but is otherwise recognizable as an eggplant parmigiana.

At the time, Italy was still ruled by regional governments, and language and culture were equally regional. Cavalcanti’s cookbook was originally written in a dialect. The first, 1837 edition of the book was destroyed.

Adapted from Cucina teorico-pratica, by Ippolito Cavalcanti, 1839.

Serve after baking.


Grated Cheese
Basil Leaves
Tomato sauce or meat ragù


Peel eggplants.
Slice into medallions.
Drain juices and squeeze dry.
Layer with cheese, basil, sauce.