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Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Baked Aubergine (eggplant parmigiana)

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

When should I make it?

I like to make a big tray of this and if there's anything left over it can be eaten the next day when it tastes even better. 


Even if you don't want it the next day, you can freeze it in portions and then you have a tasty meal for days when you may not have time to cook.

How long will it take?

You should allow about 45 minutes to an hour to make this dish but most of that time it is just baking in the oven.

What ingredients do I need?

 For a tray for about 6 people you will need:

  • 6 Aubergines (eggplant)
  • Fresh Tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella
  • 50g Fresh Parmesan cheese (grated) or Pecorino
  • Basil leaves
  • Seasoning – Salt & Black Pepper
  • Olive oil

Can I use any alternatives if I can find certain ingredients?

Aubergines are readily available these days. I suppose you could replace aubergines with something like courgettes (zucchini). I'm not sure you would get the same result though as it really is the unique texture of the aubergines that make this dish.

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

What preparation do I need to do / what can I do in advance?

The aubergines should be cut length ways into 1cm slices.

Depending on the aubergines and their water content you may want to salt the slices and cover with a dish to draw out excess water. However, this is not normally necessary these days.

What are the main steps?
  1. Grill or fry the slices of aubergine with a little olive oil. You may find it easier to do this in batches and I find it helps if you use kitchen towel to remove any excess oil from the aubergine slices once cooked. 
  2. For the basic tomato sauce, follow this recipe using onions and garlic and normal size tomatoes (or even tinned Italian tomatoes if you can't get good fresh ones).
  3. Once you have all of your aubergine slices cooked and your tomato sauce is ready, grease an oven proof dish.
  4. In the oven proof dish create a layer of the cooked aubergine slices, then pour over someof the tomato sauce then tear some pieces of mozarella, grate a little parmasan and add a few basil leaves.
  5. Repeat step 4 building layer upon layer using  up all of the aubergine slices.
  6. Place dish with aubergines into a preheated oven (about 200 degrees) and cook for about 25 minutes
  7. Remove from oven, slice into portions and serve.

How should I serve it?

Serve in bowls with a further sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and some black pepper to taste. 

Are there any variations to this recipe that I could try?

You could try using a different cheese such as a Fontina which is a tasty cow's milk cheese from Northern Italy. It could be used as an alternative to mozzarella.

What are the origins of this recipe?

Traditionally this dish is served as a starter. There is some dispute as to the origins although it is most likely to have come from Sicily where the cuisine is heavily Greek influenced and the aubergine features highly. 

Those in the North (from Parma / Emilia Romana) argue that use of "Parmigiana" means it must come from their region (the home of Parmesan cheese). While Sicilians argue that its origin is in fact from the word "Parmiciana" (which is their word for the layered wooden shutters of their region which reflect the layers of the aubergine in the dish). 

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