3 Links Italian Sausage (I used cheese and parsley, but you can use mild also)
1 small onion
1 small bulb of fennel
1 ¼ c tomato sauce
12 grape/cherry tomatoes halved
3 tbsp parsley
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
½ c chicken broth
½ c milk
½ c Parmesan, grated
⅛ tsp pepper
pinch of nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375°
Stripe the eggplant and slice into ½ slices. Spray a cookie sheet (or wipe with olive oil), then place the eggplant on the cookie sheet. It will overlap, that is fine as we are just softening it. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Thinly slice the fennel and the onion and chop the parsley then set aside.
Preheat a frying pan with enough olive oil just to cover the bottom. Remove the sausage from the casing and break it up into the pan. Using a spatula, keep breaking up the sausage in the pan until it is in small pieces. When the sausage starts to brown add the fennel and onions to the pan. Cover and saute about 8 minutes until the onions are translucent. Next stir in the tomato sauce and the parsley. Heat through and turn heat to low, keep covered.
In a separate pan, melt the butter. And the flour to the melted butter and whisk until combined. Next whisk in the chicken broth and the milk with the heat on medium high. Keep whisking until it thickens, it should be fairly thick. Turn the heat off and add the Parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper. You have just made a doctored up béchamel sauce :)
Ready to put together! In a 9 x 9 square pan, I use a Corelle baking dish with a cover, spread a small amount of the béchamel on the bottom. Then put in a layer of eggplant, the sausage mixture, the halved tomatoes, and top with eggplant. (If your eggplant were big, you can adjust and make two layers of the sausage and eggplant. I have made it both ways depending on the size of my eggplant.). Then spoon the remaining béchamel sauce over the top.
Cover the pan either with the lid or with tin foil depending on what pan you are using. Place in oven and bake 45 minutes or until the eggplant is soft.