Lasagna, in all its cheesy goodness, is simply too delicious to be a laborious, spend-half-your-Sunday undertaking. Our eggplant lasagna is easy enough for any weeknight, but satisfying enough to make Nonna nervous. Tender eggplant and artichoke hearts are layered with ricotta, mozzarella, and a basil-infused tomato sauce for a dinner with molto flavor that takes piccolo time.
Trim ends off eggplant and slice into ½” rounds. Stem and coarsely chop basil (reserve couple whole leaves for garnish). Drain artichokes and coarsely chop. Mince garlic. Stir together breadcrumbs and ½ tsp. olive oil in a small bowl.
Sear the Eggplant
Place a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Cooking in batches, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and eggplant rounds in a single layer into hot pan. Sear until deeply browned, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and season with ¼ tsp. salt. Repeat process with remaining eggplant, replenishing oil if needed. Reserve pan; no need to wipe clean.
Make the Tomato Sauce
Return pan used to cook eggplant to medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and garlic to hot pan. Cook until aromatic, 30 seconds. Add diced tomatoes, bring to a boil, and cook until sightly reduced, 2-3 minutes. Add ¾ the chopped basil (reserve remaining for topping lasagna), ¼ tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper. Stir and remove from burner.
Build the Lasagna
Layer half the eggplant on the bottom of prepared casserole dish. (You may also use a cast-iron skillet.) Add ricotta cheese, half the artichoke hearts, half the mozzarella, and ¼ the tomato sauce on top of eggplant. Top with remaining eggplant, followed by remaining artichoke hearts, remaining tomato sauce, and remaining mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle top with breadcrumbs.
Bake the Lasagna
Bake lasagna until heated through and top is golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining basil and rest 3-5 minutes. Resting allows cheese to set just enough that it doesn't leak out after cutting into lasagna.
Plate the Dish
Garnish lasagna with reserved whole basil. Cut into desired number of pieces and serve family style.