Here’s my trial and error (and what I have in the fridge) recipe for Melanzane Parmigiana (Parmesan Aubergine/Eggplant) –
My own version – I KNOW it’s not a traditional version, before the purists slate me!!
You’ll need – A large plump fresh aubergine sliced into 1cm rounds
Grated parmigiano – a nice little mountain of it!
Chopped or coarsely grated ball of mozzarella.
Finely chopped onion
Couple cloves finely chopped (or crushed) garlic
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Tablespoon tomato concentrate
Big handful of basil leaves, ripped up.
Salt and freshly ground pepper.
(Glug of red wine, if you want to make it richer)
About 200-250ml of beschamel sauce – if no time, the little tetra packs are a reasonable substitute for making it yourself!
What you need to do …
Heat the oven to a med-hot heat. I use about 180°c (I’m doubting myself now – is it °C or °F? You’ll know!)
Get a griddle pan nice and hot – no oil.
Cook the aubergine slices until tender and very slightly charred along the lines of the griddle. Put them to one side as you cook them, you’ll need to do the slices in batches, I doubt if you have a griddle pan big enough to do them all in one go!
While they are cooking, get your tomato sauce sorted …. In a saucepan, add a good glug of EVO and warm up – add the onion and stir a little to coat in the oil.
After the onion has softened slightly, add the garlic and stir that around too, coating it in the oil. Cook gently for about 5 minutes stirring frequently to stop the onion and garlic browning.
When they are nice and soft add the tin of tomatoes and about a tablespoon of tomato concentrate. (You can add your glug of wine at this stage if you want!)
Stir everything well and bring back to a simmer.
Add the ripped basil leaves & seasoning.
Stir, simmer for 15/ 20 minutes or so until the onions are really soft and the sauce has thickened.
When the sauce is done to your liking and the aubergines are cooked, start layering!
Start with a bottom layer of a bit of the tomato sauce.
Then some blobs of beschamel dotted over
Then a hefty sprinkling of parmigiano
Then tomato sauce…
Then start again.
Finish with a layer of aubergine.
Absolutely finish with a mix of parmigiano and mozzarella.
Into the oven for about 30 minutes.
You want it to be browned a little on top and bubbling away – and of course for the tomato sauce to have soaked into the aubergines!
Leave it to rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
It is a fairly ‘saucy’ dish, but REALLY tasty!
Now, silly me, I was so taken with eating this, I forgot to get a picture of it when it was on my plate! Rest assured, it was pretty damned good!