The aubergine parmigiana, or parmigiana di melanzane, is arguably one of the most indulgent Italian vegetable based dishes.
It is typically made by layering fried aubergine slices (either shallow or deep fried, sometimes breaded depending on the recipe) with cheese and tomato sauce, then baking in the oven. The end result is a dish full of smokey, fried aubergine which is complimented by sweet tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and nutty Parmigianino Reggiano. For me, it’s heaven on a plate.
Unfortunately, I rarely have the time to replicate this dish authentically. Frying the individual slices of aubergine can take a while and it’s not exactly healthy…
So I present, my cheat version of an aubergine parmigiana.
You will need an oven proof baking dish for this recipe, I suggest going all out and making a large amount. It freezes really well (heat it back up in the oven) and could be served alongside some pasta for an easy mid week meal.
The quantities really depend on the size of the oven dish. Adjust the quantities accordingly.
- Tomato sauce – you could use sauce from a jar, but to be honest…you shouldn’t. If you feel stuck here’s a simple recipe
- Minimum of 2 Aubergines, cut lengthways
- 1 or 2 balls of mozzarella (depends how cheesey you want it) drained and torn into strips
- Italian dried herbs (oregano, basil, thyme for example)
- Olive oil
- Parmigiano Reggiano* ( Any Italian hard cheese would work, for example I used Grana Padano)
- Salt and Pepper
Preheat your oven to 200c.
Slice your aubergine lengthways in fairly thick slices, you could also slice them into rounds. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Put the slices in the oven to roast, keep turning them to ensure they cook evenly on both sides. They should go golden brown and slightly crispy.
Meanwhile, heat your sauce and grate your Italian hard cheese of choice.
When your aubergine looks nice and golden, take it out of the oven. But leave the oven on.
Start layering your slices into your dish. For best results start with a little sauce, the add your aubergine slices, with some mozzarella and a sprinkling of cheese. Repeat until you reach the top.
You want the top layer to have the most mozzarella and cheese, so you achieve a crispy t0p layer. Season the top with salt, pepper and Italian dried herbs.
Place the dish back in the oven and bake for around 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese on top is crispy and bubbling.
Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.
Serve alongside: Broccoli, a dressed salad, some garlic bread or some pasta lightly tossed in olive oil.
You could also add olives, capers or other vegetables such as courgettes and peppers.
*If you’re vegetarian, remember to check the cheese your using is suitable for vegetarians.