This is one of those dishes I’ve enjoyed many times in Italy when we visit. Almost every household has their own variation on the recipe, I’ve seen it done so many different ways, all slightly different to each other. I’ve used half parmesan and half cheddar which is not very Italian but this is my version isn’t it?
This recipe can take time to make so be patient, it’s worth it!
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 3 good sized aubergines
- 200ml passata or use some of my homemade tomato sauce if you want to make this really delicious
- 200g grated parmesan cheese
- 200g grated cheddar cheese (you wouldn’t see this in an Italian recipe but cheddar is so good with this, it’s a bit sharp and melts well)
- 1 clove of crushed garlic
- Fresh basil leaves
- 1 ball of mozzarella
- Breadcrumbs to sprinkle on top
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- If you are lucky enough to own a mandoline, slice your aubergine slices to 3.5mm thick, if you don;t have one of these use a knife to slice your aubergine in the same way trying to cut them evenly
- Using a griddle pan, griddle the aubergine slices on either side for a few minutes to soften and add more flavour, you’ll need to do this in batches, this is what takes all the time – if you’re short on time, place the slices on a grease proof baking tray (again, in batches if necessary) and cook on 180°C for 15 – 20 minutes. Although this saves you the job of cooking them on the griddle, the flavour isn’t quite as intense
- In an earthenware dish, spread a couple of tablespoons of the passata / tomato sauce on the bottom, layer with the aubergine slices, a drop of passata on each slice of aubergine (as below), the grated cheese, a bit of the crushed garlic and some fresh basil leaves
- Repeat step 4 until you have finished the layers, I alternate each layer with parmesan then cheddar
- For the final layer, slice the mozzarella and place on top and scatter with breadcrumbs and any remaining parmesan
- Cook at 180°C for about 40 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown on top.
- You can also slice the aubergine in rounds instead of lengthways but this obviously takes longer to prepare on the griddle.