1. In a large pot or dutch oven add your olive oil and sauté your chopped yellow onion and chopped garlic. Once translucent, add your ground beef and your spicy Italian sausage (I like to remove the sausage from their casings) break up meat with your spoon and let brown, add the ½ cup of red wine at this point to deglaze the pan.
2. Once meat is cooked, add cans of your San Marzano tomatoes. Sometimes I will add mushrooms here, but it is definitely optional. Let this cook on medium low for at least an hour. The secret to good sauce is wine and time, you cannot rush good sauce.
3. While your sauce is workin, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice your eggplant length wise in long wide strips. Many people salt their eggplant here to let it sweat out, I do not. Many traditional recipes also prepare their eggplant here to fry, I do not. Instead, prepare a baking sheet with foil. If you have a wire rack, place that on top and lay your eggplant on the rack. Brush with olive oil then sprinkle well it a mixture of finely grated parmesan cheese and panko crumbs. Roast for 30 minutes, until eggplant is tender. You might need to a couple rounds of roasting as you need to have about 12-15 strips to make enough layers within your casserole dish.
4. Every 30 minutes or so give your sauce a stir and taste. When you are about to take your sauce off of the heat add your chopped parsley and basil. I like a lot of basil so I probably put in about 10 large leaves finely chopped.
5. Once eggplant is all roasted, you can now start assembling. First, you will need to put a little bit of sauce (avoiding big meat pieces) in the bottom of your 9x13 casserole dish. Then, layer your eggplant, more sauce, then shredded mozzarella. Repeat, eggplant sauce, cheese, eggplant, sauce, then hold your last cheese off. Cover the casserole dish with foil and cook for 1 hour at 350 degrees. You don't want to the cheese to stick to the top of your foil.
6. After cooking for one hour, remove foil and add your cheese. (In the image shown we did slice fresh mozzarella into rounds and then used a heart shaped cooking cutter to make hearts). Cook for about 15 minutes. You can even put it under the broiler if you like. VERY IMPORTANT! Remove from oven and let your eggplant rest for at least 30 minutes - 1 hour (you can tent it lightly with foil and yes, it will stay piping hot). This is so important so the eggplant stays intact when you slice it. Serve with lightly dressed green salad and some delciously crusty bread for soaking up the sauce. Enjoy!