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A moreish aubergine parmigiana recipe from Angela Hartnett. The Italian inspired dish layers up melting mozzarella, eggplant and a rich tomato sauce.

From the book

Introduction

This classic Italian dish takes a fair amount of preparation, but it’s ideal for making in advance because it benefits from being left to rest overnight so that the flavour develops. Key to its success are a rich tomato sauce and thick aubergine slices. It makes a great starter or veggie main course with a green salad, but I love to serve it as an accompaniment to lamb, chicken, sea bass or halibut.

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Ingredients

200ml olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 x 400g can of plum tomatoes
2 large aubergines
2 x 125g balls of buffalo mozzarella, sliced
A bunch of fresh basil leaves
100g Parmesan, freshly grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Essential kit

You will need a shallow ovenproof dish (about 25 x 20cm).

Method

Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a medium saucepan over a low heat. When hot, add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft and translucent but not coloured.

Add the tomatoes, break them up gently with a wooden spoon, and simmer for 25-30 minutes to create a thick sauce. Season to taste. Press the sauce through a sieve into a bowl and set to one side. Discard the pulp.

Cut the aubergines lengthways into 5 mm slices and sprinkle with a little salt. Leave for about 10 minutes to release their excess moisture. Pat dry with kitchen paper or a tea towel.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan and shallow-fry the aubergine slices; they should be only lightly coloured.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5.

To assemble the dish, spoon a third of the tomato sauce into a shallow ovenproof dish (about 25 x 20cm). Add a single layer of cooked aubergines, slightly overlapping the slices. Follow with a layer of sliced mozzarella, a handful of basil leaves and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Repeat the process, finishing with a layer of aubergine. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until a lovely, bubbling crust has formed.

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From the book: Angela Hartnett’s Cucina: Three Generations of Italian Family Cooking

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