La Vera Cucina

Grilled Eggplant Capri

A relative newcomer to the kitchen at Ralph’s Bull & Claw Restaurant in North Providence, RI, Chef Richard DeMarco is already developing a following among regulars, especially for homestyle specialties, like his Grilled Eggplant Capri. Born in Sesto Campano, a small town nestled in the hills north of Napoli, Richard has enjoyed a long career pleasing Rhode Islanders with a taste of la vera cucina.

Chef DeMarco’s Grilled Eggplant Capri features alternating layers of freshly grilled eggplant, delicately wilted baby spinach, and melted fresh mozzarella, and tastes best when served with his family’s signature marinara sauce, prepared with garlic infused olive oil.



  • 1 large eggplant (1-1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced lengthwise into six
  • 1/2 inch slices
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 pound fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Dash crushed red chilies
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano


Season eggplant with sea salt and black pepper; drizzle with olive oil. Broil, turning once, until tender.

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add sliced garlic; cook until garlic is golden brown. Add spinach; season with salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Cook until spinach is tender.

To assemble eggplant stacks, place 2 slices of eggplant on a lightly greased baking sheet. Top each with 1/4 cup spinach and 3 slices mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Finish with slice of eggplant. Bake at 425°F, about 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

Ladle 3/4 cup marinara sauce onto each plate. Top with eggplant; drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.

Serve immediately. Makes two servings.