This is my favourite vegetarian dish. Not only are there melt in your mouth aubergines cooked to perfection, it's dripping in both mozzarella and parmesan cheese. It’s the ultimate wholesome and comfort food and is so easy to make. For a quick fix you can make it with just tinned tomatoes, aubergines and parmesan but if you have the below ingredients it's definitely worth making it properly.
Serves 4-6 / 30 mins prep / 30 mins cooking time
1 Onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Pinch of Dried Oregano
Fresh tomatoes are best (2 handfuls, roughly 1kg)
or Tinned plum tomatoes (2 x 400g tins)
Wine Vinegar (not essential but a good addition)
Handful of fresh basil
A chunk of Parmesan Cheese
A ball of Mozzarella (optional)
Step 1: The Sauce
Put a generous dash of olive oil in a large pan on a medium heat, add onion and garlic and cook until both have softened. If using tinned tomatoes, mush them up and add to the pan. If using fresh tomatoes, sit them in a bowl of boiling water for just under a minute then transfer to a bowl of cold water to remove the skins. Squeeze out any pips, chop up and add to the pan with the dried oregano. Cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Step 2: The Aubergines
Heat a griddle pan on a high heat - a regular frying pan can be used or just put them under the grill but watch them carefully! Slice up your Aubergines into about 1cm thick slices and put them in the pan in batches. Grill on each side until they have all been lightly charred.
Step 3: The Baking
The sauce should have reduced by now, so add a dash of Wine vinegar, fresh basil, salt and pepper. In an oven-proof dish, pour a layer of tomato sauce on the base and a layer of aubergines on top. Add sauce again on top and sprinkle with parmesan followed by another aubergine layer. Repeat until you've used all ingredients, ending with a generous helping of the sauce and loads of parmesan on top. Mix the breadcrumbs in a bowl with a dash of olive oil and sprinkle on top. Tear up your ball of mozzarella and spread across the top.
Bake for half an hour at 190 degrees. The cheese should be golden, the aubergines soft and the tomato sauce bubbling. Enjoy!