Thursday, 9 July 2009

Melanzane alla parmigiana (Aubergine and tomato bake)

This isn't the quickest dish to prepare, but it tastes amazing.


450g (1lb) of aubergines
1 large onion
olive oil
sunflower oil to fry the aubergine slices
2 garlic cloves
2 x 400g (14oz) cans plum tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
glass of red wine
225g (8oz) mozzarella cheese cut into 6mm slices
50g (2oz) grated Parmasan

Slice the aubergines into thin circles about ½ cm thick. Salt and leave to drain in a colander for ½ an hour.

In the meantime make a tomato sauce. Peel and chop the onion and peel and crush the garlic. Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the onion, adding the garlic about 5 minutes later. Fry for a few more minutes, then add the tomatoes and their juice, the red wine and oregano. Break the tomatoes up a bit with the wooden spoon. Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should reduce a fair bit so it is nice and thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Fry the aubergine circles in batches in the sunflower oil. Make sure the oil is hot otherwise the aubergine will soak it all up. When each batch is finished, drain on kitchen paper to remove the excess oil.

Put a layer of aubergines on the bottom of a lasagne dish, cover with some of the tomato sauce and then with sliced mozzarella. Continue until you have finished all the ingredients (you can usually do about 3 layers). Finish by sprinkling the grated parmesan on top.

Bake in a hot oven (220C, 425F, Gas mark 7) for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden and the mixture is bubbling.

Serve with fresh bread and a green salad.

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