Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Italian Parmiggiana

I will not compete with my Italian mother-in-law, therefore following is a simpler version of a real Neapolitan parmiggana. My hubby would call it the American version. ;)

1 large onion, peeled & diced

2 large eggplant, sliced into rounds about 1.5cm (1/2in) thick

2 x 400g (140z) can tomatoes
2 x Mozzarella cheese
1 bunch basil, leaves picked

2 large handfuls freshly grated parmesan cheese + extra to serve

1.) Cook onion with a little olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat until soft but not browned.
2.) Meanwhile sprinkle eggplant layers with salt and allow to stand while the onion cooks.
3.) Add tomatoes and a few basil leaves to the onion. Crush tomatoes to break up and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes to an hour – you just want the flavours to come together – no need for the sauce to reduce. And don’t worry about seasoning it – there will be plenty of salt in the eggplant and cheese.
4.) Preheat oven to 220C (425F). Generously oil a large baking tray.
5.) Pat eggplant dry with paper towel, removing as much salt as possible. Place eggplant in a single layer on the tray (you may need 2 trays) and drizzle generously with more olive oil.
6.) Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, turning once or twice until eggplant is very soft and golden brown on both sides.
7.) Place a layer of tomato sauce in a medium baking dish. Layer with eggplant slices, top with more sauce, a few basil leaves and some mozzarella. Repeat the layers until everything is used up finishing with a generous sprinkle of cheese.
8.) Bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and everything is hot and bubbling.

If you were after a shortcut you could substitute in a large jar of tomato passata or pre-made tomato pasta sauce. Lovely with a crunchy, bitter leaf salad but also excellent the next day as a sandwich filling.

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