from one generation to the next
This is a delicious robust rustic Italian dish which really doesn’t really require a recipe. Just so long as you have the basics; grilled or fried eggplant slices, well seasoned tomato passata, a soft stretchy mozzarella style cheese and as the very name implies, some shredded Parmesan cheese, you can then embellish to suit your palate or your pantry.
I prefer to grill the eggplant. Even after salting the cut surface of eggplant absorbs oil like a sponge, so I brush the surface with a smear of good olive oil and sprinkle it liberally with dried Sicilian oregano before grilling.
A thin layer of par boiled pasta at the bottom of the casserole dish will catch all the delicious juices that drop out of the tomatoes and eggplants while it’s in the oven, and helps to make this a complete meal.
Serve with something green, we had a simple rocket (arugula) salad, add a glass of robust Australian red wine, Pizzini Sangiovese is a good choice, and dinner is a feast.
Oh and please, don’t argue over the crispy, browned cheesy bits from the edge!
recipe after the photo gallery
3 large eggplants (aubergines)
2 teaspoons cooking salt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
750 mls tomato passata
4 cloves garlic
125g fiore di latte
60g Parmagiano Reggiano
100g small pasta shapes
Slice the eggplants into 1cm thick slices, lay them in a colander and sprinkle over the cooking salt. Leave the eggplants to drain for about 30 minutes.
Rinse the eggplant slices then pat them dry with a clean tea towel. Brush each slice, top and bottom with olive oil, then crumble over the dried oregano. Grill the eggplants until browned on both sides.
Cook the pasta for 2/3 of the manufacturers recommended time. Drain then refresh the pasta in cold water.
Stir the finely chopped cloves of garlic into the passata, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Break the fiore di latte into pieces about 1cm square. Finely shred the Parmesan.
Preheat the oven to 180C, fan forced.
Lightly oil a casserole dish then tip the pasta into the bottom.
Lay eggplant slices over the pasta in a single layer, spoon a thin coating of passata on top then scatter over 1/3 of the mozzarella and Parmesan.
Continue layering the eggplant, passata and cheese until everything is used up, finishing with a cheese layer.
Bake 30-40 minutes until bubbling and browned on top. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.