Fall Inspired Recipes by Chef Danny

Fall Recipe Feature: Mama’s Eggplant Parmesan & Sticky Toffee Pudding
Fall is almost upon us and our Portola Hotel & Spa, Executive Chef Danny Abbruzzese is sharing two of his favorite dishes of the season. Whether you’re looking for something comforting and hearty or a sweet treat, it’s all right here!

Chef Danny Abbruzzese

Mama’s Eggplant Parmesan
Yields: 12 servings

Maman's Eggplant Parmesan

  • 2 each Eggplant, cut 1/3 inch thick
  • 2 lbs. Mozzarella, whole milk, cut 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 ½ cup Reggiano parmesan, grated
  • 1 oz. Chocolate, bittersweet, grated
  • 2 bunches Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 gallon Olive oil
  • As needed Salt
  • 1 pound Flour
  • 12 Eggs, whole
  • 1 ½ quarts Marinara (see recipe below)

Lightly salt the sliced eggplant and hold them overnight in refrigerator. The following day, rinse and dry. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Prepare egg mix by whipping eggs and stirring in chopped parsley. Dredge the eggplant in seasoned flour and egg, and place in heated oil and fry until golden brown and delicious. Let the eggplant drain on paper towels or a wire rack.

In a nine-inch-deep casserole dish, place the marinara on the bottom of pan, then layer with fried eggplant, mozzarella, parmesan and chocolate; repeating this process three more times. On the fourth layer of eggplant, finish top with mozzarella and parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 275 degrees for one and a half hours. Remove from the oven and let stand 20 minutes before serving


  • 1 Onion; diced
  • As needed; Oil
  • To Taste; Salt
  • To Taste; Pepper
  • 1 #10 can Tomato filets
  • 4 oz. Tomato paste
  • 2 cups Red wine
  • 8 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 bunch Basil
  • ½ bunch Italian parsley

Cook the onion in oil until soft. Add tomato paste and cook for five minutes. Deglaze with wine and stir. Add the rest of the tomatoes and garlic. Cook for 30 minutes. Add the herbs and season, then blend.

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Yields 8 Servings

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Preheat oven to 340 degrees

1 loaf bread-cinnamon/brioche – diced in ½ inch pieces
1 cup Dates-pureed
1 cup Brown sugar
1 gallon. Heavy Cream
1 cup Egg yolks
1 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
Walnuts-toasted, diced for garnish

Bring the cream and brown sugar to a boil, take off the heat and temper in eggs slowly, as not to curdle. Add the cinnamon, vanilla extract and date puree and mix until incorporated. Fill eight, 8-ounce ramekins with 1-ounce Toffee Sauce (see recipe below) then diced bread. Pour in cream mixture, covering bread and let stand for 10 minutes to absorb. On an uncovered sheet pan, bake at 340 degrees for 20 minutes. To serve, place toffee pudding in center of plate, top with 1-ounce Toffee Sauce and finish with diced walnuts.

Toffee Sauce
½ lb. Butter
1 cup Brown sugar
1 cup Brandy
1 cup Heavy Cream

In a sauce pan, melt butter and sugar over low heat. Add brandy and cook for five minutes or until alcohol is burned off. Add cream and simmer for five minutes.

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