Aubergine Parmigiana

A must-make dinner that will have people in raptures. I made this today and served it for my twelve year old boy’s dinner, didn’t tell him what it was, just said “It’s sort of lasagne.” He took one mouthful and went “Mmmmmhhhh!” That’s how good it is. I’m not going all precious over ingredients here, I used Pizza Express tinned passata, I think it’s good, but you can make the tomato sauce from complete scratch if you have more time, which I didn’t!
Serves: 4 • Prep: 10 mins • Cook: 50 mins • Easy 
  • 3 large shiny, young aubergines, i.e. not ones that have gone fluffy and seedy
  • about 5mm of extra virgin olive oil poured into a flat dish
  • 2 tins of Pizza Express or any passata (roughly 700-800ml)
  • 1 large red onion, chopped – and if you have a clove of garlic handy crush that too, not essential
  • 3 x 125g balls of buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 100g of grated fresh parmesan
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (Don’t panic, you will live, honest! It enhances the tomato flavour.)
Heat the oven to about 170 degrees.

Slice the aubergines lengthways into 3-4mm slices, dip each slice into the olive oil and fry in a griddle pan til you see griddle marks on each side. You’ll need to do about three batches depending on t he size of your griddle pan but it really doesn’t take long. Set them to one side.

Fry the onion, (and garlic of using) in olive oil then add the passata, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

In a roughly 10-11-inch-across earthenware oven dish add a thin layer of tomato sauce, a layer of aubergine, a layer of mozzarella and a good sprinkle of parmesan. Do that again until you’ve used up all your ingredients, finishing with a layer of mozzarella and some parmesan, i.e. don’t finish with a layer of aubergine or tomato sauce or you won’t get that nice cheesy topping!

Cover in foil and bake in the oven for 25 mins before removing the foil and baking for another 20-25 mins. Or you can slow bake it for 75-90 mins on lower heat.

Serve with peas.

N.B. You can add fresh herbs and top with breadcrumbs if you feel like it. Learn to cook using instinct.
Nutrition info
Vitamins: A B1, B2, B3, B6, C, D, E, K, Folate. Minerals: Iron, zinc, potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, calcium

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