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"We're making something so simple and so fun, and it really cuts back the calories on one of everybody's favorites—eggplant Parm soup." says Rach. She roasts eggplants (no frying!), chops the flesh and adds it to a tomato-based soup. For the cheese element, she makes crispy frico garnishes with shredded Parm. "It's the most delicious topper!"
Turn oven to 500°F, with rack at center.
Pierce the eggplants a few times each with tines of a fork. Roast until tender and charred. Cool. Peel most of the skin and chop or mash into a thick pulp.
Heat a soup pot over medium to medium-high heat with EVOO, then add the onions, season with salt and pepper and soften a few minutes.
Add garlic and stir in oregano. Add tomato paste and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add wine and simmer for another minute. Add stock, tomatoes, passata and eggplant paste. Wilt in basil. Bring soup to a simmer and cook over low heat while you make your frico.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add small piles of shredded cheese. Cook a few at a time, 2 to 3 minutes to melt, then carefully turn and cook 30 seconds to a minute more. Transfer to paper towel-lined tray and top with red or black pepper and thyme.