Parmigiana is one of those dishes people frown at when you explain to them what it is. Once they've actually tried it, everyone I know, loves it. It's really simple and incredibly delicious, especially if you give the tomato sauce time to reduce to a thick texture and lovely intense flavour.
Originally this dish comes from the south of Italy and involves coating your aubergines in flour and egg and shallow frying them. Also the Italians like to use fontina cheese, which is pretty pricy here in the UK. So if you want to go for the original recipe, try Antonio Carluccio's one (yum!) I've slightly altered the recipe and created a healthier and cheaper, but not less tasty version.
Even if you don't like aubergines, do give this one a try, it is definitely worth it!!
- 2 aubergines, sliced length-ways into approx. 1cm/1/2in strips
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- a little red wine (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- large handful of chopped fresh basil
- 2 balls mozarella (you can use the low-fat mozarella if you want to go for a healthier version, but I find that once cooked it tends to be slightly rubbery)
- approx. 30g grated pecorino or parmesan
- virgin olive oil
- dried oregano, salt and pepper to season
- Preheat you grill to medium-high (depending on the power of your grill). Place your aubergines on two large baking trays and brush with some olive oil and sprinkle with some salt. Make sure you only brush them once. The aubergines will soak up the oil but don't keep adding oil as they will go soggy. Grill each tray for 12 minutes, turning the aubergines half way through.
- In the meantime heat a little olive oil in a large pan and fry the onions and garlic until soft (this will take approximately 10 minutes). Then add the wine, tomatoes, oregano and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and intensified. Stir in most of the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Once your aubergines are done, preheat the oven to 220˚C. Spoon a thin layer of the sauce into a baking dish, then dot over a third of the mozzarella. Cover with a layer of aubergine, then repeat the process twice more. Make sure you split you mixture equally and finish with a layer of sauce and mozzarella.
- Sprinkle over the pecorino or parmesan and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbling. Enjoy with a green salad and some crusty bread.
PS Excuse the rubbish pictures. It was dark, but simply too yummy to not share!