MELANZANE PARMIGIANA

This recipe came from Alfie via Sharon at Wolves Lane

Layers of aubergine with a rich tomato sauce and cheese make a great main dish with a green salad and crusty bread.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed 
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
2 large aubergines, approx. 500g
50g hard cheese plus extra for the top, grated
150g pack mozzarella, sliced (optional)

Equipment

A medium ovenproof dish, square or oval approx. 27 x 18-20cm
Two large baking sheets, lightly greased with oil

Method

  1. To make the tomato sauce put 1 tbsp of the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, adding the garlic. As the garlic starts to brown (keep your eye on it!) add the chopped onion. Stir and cook gently on a low heat for 5-8mins to soften.
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes and oregano. Stir and cook on a gentle simmer for 15-20 mins. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. 
  4. Meanwhile wash the aubergines, remove the stalks and cut into 1cm thick slices. Place on the oiled baking sheets and then brush each slice with a little oil. Cook in the oven for 10 mins. Remove from the oven and flip each slice over, brushing with a little more oil. Cook for a further 5-7 mins until soft but not brown. Season with a little salt and put to one side.
  5. Spread a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce over the bottom of the ovenproof dish and sprinkle over a thin layer of the grated cheese. Lay a third of the cooked aubergine slices side by side and cover with a third of the remaining tomato sauce. Scatter a third of the mozzarella slices (if using) on top and grind over some black pepper. Repeat the layers using up all the ingredients, finishing with a layer of tomato sauce and a sprinkling of any remaining grated cheese on top. 
  6. Place in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for approx. 35 mins until the cheese has melted and the dish is bubbling.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature. The dish is even tastier the following day but make sure you take it out of the fridge to come back to room temperature or re-heat in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 35 mins.

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