Bertucci's Corporation, a casual-dining chain, owns a collection of full-service Italian restaurants that operate under the name "Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzeria." During the early years of the 21st century there were roughly 80 Bertucci's restaurants scattered throughout the northeastern United States, each of which featured wood-fired brick ovens, which cook hotter than conventional pizza ovens, and served Tuscan-styled food, including gourmet pizzas, salads, soups, seafood, and pasta dishes. Founded in suburban Boston by Joseph Crugnale, Bertucci's expanded quickly during the 1980s and 1990s, growing from a single restaurant in 1981 to a sprawling restaurant chain by the mid-1990s. N.E. Restaurant Co. Inc., Bertucci's owner since 1998, adopted the Bertucci's name in 2001.
Bertucci's Copycat Recipe
1 lb. eggplant sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 large heirloom tomato sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup kosher salt
balsamic vinegar to taste
minced garlic to taste
freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil leaves (optional)
Toss the eggplant in salt until coated. Put the slices in a colander set on a sheet pan to catch the liquid sweat off. Set aside for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line two cookie sheets with foil. Brush both with olive oil. Rinse eggplant slices in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
On the first cookie sheet, arrange the slices of eggplant in a single layer. Brush the exposed side with more of the olive oil, then balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with black pepper.
On the second cookie sheet, arrange the slices of tomato in a single layer, sprinkle with salt, pepper and minced garlic. Roast the tomatoes 10-15 minutes or until soft and nearly brown. Bake the eggplant 20 to 30 minutes or until tender and well browned.
Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let the tomatoes and eggplant cool enough for handling.
On serving plates, drizzle balsamic vinegar then build stacks starting with eggplant, followed by tomato and mozzarella, then fresh basil as desired. Repeat as you wish.
Drizzle with olive oil, serve.