Hot, rich and bubbling with a crispy cheesy crumble topping, you can’t go wrong with this dish, whether trapped at home or entertaining friends. Great winter comfort food!
INGREDIENTS for 2-3 people
- 700g Aubergines
- 125ml olive oil
- 150g mozzarella (or vegan mozzarella)
- 500g tomato sauce (homemade is best, but you can buy good ready-made ones in jars)
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or pounded to a paste
For the topping:
- 50g panko breadcrumbs or 2 slices bread
- 50g parmesan (or vegan substitute – flax seeds are good)
- Spice it up (optional): dried oregano, basil leaves, chilli flakes – stir into the tomato sauce before assembling
- Prepare a suitable dish – it needs to be ovenproof, either about 30 x 20 cm rectangular or 25cm circular, and at least 8cm deep. Grease it lightly with olive oil to make it easier to wash up later!
- Preheat the oven to 200C (Gas mark 6)
- Open the mozzarella packet, drain off the water and leave the mozzarella to carry on draining, either in a sieve or on kitchen paper, while you do the next steps
- Wash the aubergines and slice them into rounds about 6mm thick
- Take a baking tray with shallow sides. Mix the oil with the garlic paste (if using) and pour it into the tray. Arrange the aubergine slices on the tray, then turn them over – they’ll soak up the oil like blotting paper. Don’t be tempted to add more; you want your parmigiana to be healthy, not greasy!
- Bake the aubergine slices for 7 minutes, then turn them over and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the aubergine slices from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 180C (Gas 4)
- Slice the mozzarella as thinly as you can
- Assemble the parmigiana! Divide your tomato sauce into 3, and spread the first third across the bottom of the dish. Then layer half of the aubergine slices on top. Then layer half of the mozzarella on top of that. Then the second third of the tomato sauce, then the rest of the aubergines, then the rest of the cheese, and finally the rest of the sauce.
- If you don’t have Panko crumbs, make your own substitute by toasting two slices of bread and then whizzing them in a food processor. Mix thoroughly with the grated parmesan (if you’re using seeds instead of cheese, you’ll need to add half a teaspoon of salt as well) and the 50ml olive oil. Spread the mixture over the top of the parmigiana.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. You can serve immediately or wait till later – many people say this is one dish that tastes even better when reheated the next day!