prep 1 hour 10 minutes I bake 35 minutes + standing

1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian stewed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper,divided
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch slices
Additional vegetable oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

In a large saucepan, saute onion, celery, parsley and garlic powder in oil until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, 1 /2 teaspoon salt, 1 /4 teaspoon pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour. Discard bay leaf.

In a shallow dish, combine flour and remaining salt and pepper. Place buttermilk in another shallow dish. Dip eggplant in buttermilk, then in flour mixture,

In a large skillet, cook eggplant in batches in 1 in, of hot oil until golden brown on each side; drain.

Place half of eggplant in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Top with half of Parmesan cheese, beef and tomato mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining eggplant, Parmesan cheese, beef and tomato mixture.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley. yield: 8 servings.