Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Aubergines with Tomato and Mozzarella

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

Many versions of this classic recipe exist all over the south of Italy, but the principle is always the same: layers of cooked aubergine with a rich tomato sauce, some peppery basil and creamy melting cheese, baked in the oven. It’s a hearty dish, which tastes even better the next day.

Ingredients

  • 3 long aubergines/eggplants, cut into circles
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 250 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup passata/bottled strained tomatoes
  • 115 g/4 oz mozzarella, sliced
  • 200 g/7 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, torn into shreds
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

Method

  1. Sprinkle the aubergine with salt and lay in a colander. Put a plate on top and weight it down. Stand the colander in the sink for 1 hour to allow the bitter juices of the aubergines to drain away.

  2. Rinse and pat the aubergine slices dry, then brush them lightly with oil. Use the extra oil to lightly grease four medium ramekins.
  3. Heat the grill or broiler to high and grill the aubergine slices until soft and lightly browned, turning them once.

  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Put a little passata across the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Cover with a layer of aubergine slices.
  5. Cover with a layer of mozzarella, a layer of passata, a little Parmesan and a few torn basil leaves.

  6. Repeat until the ingredients are used up, finishing with a layer of passata, topped with Parmesan and basil. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then serve.

Variation

The aubergines can also be shallow-fried in oil instead of being grilled or broiled, and then used as above, from step 4.