‘Melanzane alla Parmigiana’ is a famous Italian dish consisting of grilled aubergines and a rich tomato sauce.
Ingredients: (serves 6)
-2 onions, finely chopped
-3 garlic cloves, chopped
-2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes or plum tomatoes
-A large handful of basil, finely chopped (save about 10 leaves for the top)
-2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes
-2 tbsp mixed herbs
-1 tbsp ketchup
-About half a cup of red wine (optional)
-3 large aubergines (see how to slice below)
-1 handful of parmesan cheese (or vegan cheese)
-1 ball of mozerella (125g), sliced (or vegan cheese)
-1 handful of breadcrumbs (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C/ 375 degrees F/ Gas mark 5.
- Firstly make the sauce. Add 2 tbsp of olive or rapeseed oil into a large pan (with a lid- you will need it for later), and heat on medium heat for a few seconds.
- Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the onions are soft.
- Add the tinned tomatoes to the pan. If you are using tinned plum tomatoes like I did, use a sharp knife to cut the tomatoes whilst still inside the tin, to make things easier.Then fill up one of the tins with water, and add this to the pan.
- Now add all the other ingredients to the pan- the basil, stock cubes, herbs, ketchup and wine. Also season the sauce with salt and pepper. Mix all together.
- Bring the sauce to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce on a low heat for about 30 minutes, whilst you prepare the aubergine. Stir the sauce occasionally to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Now for the aubergine. Cut it lengthways, as thin as you can. This is quite difficult to do, so do not worry if the slices are not perfect- you will not really be able to see them in the end result anyway.
- Cover all of them (front and back) in olive oil. Rub the olive oil into both sides of the aubergine slice. This can be quite tedious but it makes the aubergine softer when you are cooking them.
- Heat up a griddle pan with NO oil, until smoking. If you do not have a griddle pan then just use a regular frying pan.
- Add the aubergine into the pan. You will need to do this in batches (you can have a few pans on the go to quicken this up).
- Cook them for a couple of minutes on one side, then flip over. It is really important that the aubergine slices are mostly cooked through. They should be floppy and translucent. Allow extra time for thicker and larger pieces. 12. The sauce should be done by now. Get a rectangle baking dish and add a layer of aubergines. 13. Then add a layer of tomato sauce. Then repeat this process until the top of the dish.14. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs (optional) , then parmesan.15. Then add the mozerella and basil leaves.16. Cover the tray with foil (so the top does not burn) and put in the oven for about 30 minutes.Serve with crusty bread.