By far, one of my favourite Italian home cooked dishes is aubergine parmigiana or parmigiana alla melanzane (in Italian). I have been asked on so many occasions for my recipe. I apologise for taking so long in sharing it with you. A typical dish found in the southern hemisphere of Italy, my recipe is inspired by the Puglian version. It’s a rustic beautiful bake of fried aubergine slices layered with juicy tomato sauce, creamy béchamel and beautiful melted mozzarella and parmesan.
What I love about this dish is that it can be served as a side dish to a roasted dinner – I love lamb – or its perfect as the star of the show with a side of greens. Perfect for vegetarians. This dish involves a bit of time and plenty of love but the end result is phenomenal. Give this recipe a go and bring a slice of rustic Pugliese cooking into your kitchen and home.
Ingredients - 4 people
- 3 medium sized aubergines, sliced 1cm thick
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 4 tbsp Plain flour
- 1 litre passata
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- Handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
- Olive oil
- Vegetable oil
- 500ml bechamel
- 250g Mozzarella, cubed
- 30g Parmesan, grated
- Start off, by degorging (salting to extract water from high water content vegetables) the aubergine slices. Layer the slices in a large colander, sprinkling salt on each layer. Leave for 1-2 hours.
- In the meantime, make the tomato sauce. In a saucepan, pour in the pasta, add the garlic and season. with salt and pepper. Let it simmer for at least 30 minutes. Add basil and drizzle of olive oil at the end.
- When the aubergines have been degorged, dry them on sheets of kitchen towel.
- Before, frying the slices, you need to paneer each slice by dusting each slice in seasoned flour and then dipped in egg wash.
- Fry the slices in sunflower oil on a medium heat, until each slice is lovely and browned.
- Drain the slices on kitchen towel, to remove any excess oil
- Now its time to assemble the parmigiana. In the bottom of an oven dish, spoon a layer of tomato sauce, a layer of aubergine slices, another layer of tomato sauce, a generous drizzle of béchamel, slices of mozzarella and sprinkle of Parmesan and repeat until you finished with your ingredients. The topping should consist of the tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan
- Bake in the oven 180C for 40 minutes.
- Serve as a side dish with a lovely roast or serve as a main.