This is a dish that we often have and I have worked on this recipe for many years before declaring myself satisfied. I lay the blame for all the work firmly at the feet of an 80 year old grandfather of the family whose farmhouse we stayed at in Italy a number of years ago. He prepared what has to have been the most amazing melanzane parmigiana I have ever tasted in my life. I wasn’t home long before I started trying to recreate it – I have to say that it has never been quite as delicious as that one but there is something magical about the Italian countryside which probably colors my memories. This one is still good enough to ensure the plates will be licked clean. If you don’t have any pesto, it will still be good but with the pesto it is elevated to the status of absolutely yummy.
Aubergine Parmigiana – a delicious meat free dish, full of great flavours, with many essential B-complex vitamins, minerals all offering potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
Oven at 170C
3-4 small/medium or 2 large Aubergine
6 tbsp Polenta or more if needed to coat each slice
6 tbsp Oil for frying
1 large bottle of tomato passata (I use Bunalun organic)
4 tbsp basil pesto
1 round of mozzarella
2 oz grated parmesan
1 10″ by 8″ dish
Wash, top and tail the aubergine and cut into long slices about 5mm thick
Line a large bowl with the slices, sprinkle with lots of salt and allow to drain.
(This is a really handy method as the liquid all drains into the bottom of the bowl)
Wipe with a piece of kitchen paper
Tip polenta onto a flat plate
Press both sides of aubergine into polenta to coat
Heat the oil to hot and
fry the aubergine in batches
Don’t overcrowd and you may need to wipe out the pan between batches
Drain on absorbent paper
Stir the pesto into the tomato pasasta
Cover the base of your dish with some of the sauce
Press a layer of aubergine into the sauce
Season and sprinkle over some of the mozzarella,
Cover with more sauce.
Continue until you have no more aubergine
Finish with sauce and the Parmesan cheese
Bake at 170C covered for 30 minutes
Uncover and bake for the final 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted, the top is golden brown.