Perhaps not authentically Italian, however, I take comfort in knowing this is how an Italian nonna taught me to make the dish, once upon a time.
Conventionally, Melanzane Parmigiana, otherwise known as Aubergine Lasagne, is essentially layers of cooked aubergine sandwiched between tomato sauce and mozzarella.
This recipe requires dipping the aubergine slices in breadcrumbs before frying, which is genius really, as all of the tomato and fresh mozzarella juice is soaked up by the breadcrumbs, leaving you with a delightfully fresh but decadently stodgy plate of comfort food.
- Olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. of dried oregano
- A pinch of chilli flakes
- 1 tin of plum tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. of tomato puree
- 100ml of water
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 aubergine, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp. of plain flour
- 1 free range egg, beaten - I always use Clarence Court Eggs
- 4 tbsp, of breadcrumbs such as panko breadcrumbs
- 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, shredded
- Plenty of freshly grated parmesan
- Sprinkle the aubergine with salt and sandwich the slices in between kitchen towel, patting them down to soak up any excess moisture.
- To make the sauce, fry the garlic in a little olive oil over a medium heat and add the oregano and chilli flakes. Pour in the plum tomatoes, tomato puree and water and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer, season with salt and pepper and allow to cook for 20 minutes until thickened.
- Set three plates out, one with the plain flour, another with the eaten egg and the third with breadcrumbs. Press each slice of aubergine into the flour, egg and then breadcrumbs until all pieces are fully coated.
- In a large pan, heat a little olive oil over a medium heat and gently fry all of the aubergine slices until golden brown on each side, you may need to do this in around 3 batches.
- Heat the oven to 200C / 180 Fan.
- To layer the lasagne, spoon a ladle of sauce over the bottom of an oven-proof pan, then for the layers, lay down one layer of aubergine slices, cover with a ladle of sauce and the shredded mozzarella and parmesan and repeat, leaving some mozzarella and parmesan for the top layer.
- Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling.
- Allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.