1Using an immersion blender or food processor, purée the tomatoes to a smooth creamy consistency (if you like a more country feel, you can wait and break them up in the pan later with a wooden spoon or even do it by hand).
2In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion and sauté 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft.
3Add the garlic cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until you see the color start changing. If you’d like the sauce to be spicy, add the red pepper flakes at this point.
4Add the tomatoes and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer on a medium-low flame for about 30 minutes (if you chose not to purée the tomatoes earlier, use a wooden spoon to break them into pieces while they cook). Strive for a balance in the consistency of the sauce; it has to be fluid, but it should not look overly wet.
5Add the basil and remove from the heat.
1Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2In a large, heavy bottomed pot, or high-sided skillet, pour in 2 inches of canola oil. Heat over high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 360 degrees F (you can also test by adding a small piece of bread to the oil; if it fries and browns, the oil is ready).
3In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, salt, and black pepper.
4Working in batches of about 8 slices each, dredge the eggplant slices in the flour mixture and add them to the hot oil. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes each side, until browned.
5Using tongs, transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to let cool.
6In two 9 X 13-inch baking dishes, place one layer of eggplant slices. Brush each with a thin layer of red sauce, top with a layer of mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of basil leaves.
7Repeat the layering 2 more times. Make a final layer of red sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
8Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top.
9Garnish with a final sprinkling of basil leaves and Parmesan, and a small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.