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Parmagiana di Melanzane

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.

Serves 4

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

20 comments on “Parmagiana di Melanzane

  1. Karen
    June 1, 2013

    I really like your addition of pasta for the bottom layer to your recipe.

    Like

  2. StefanGourmet
    June 1, 2013

    One of my favorites — really good with some fresh basil (added when serving). When tomatoes are in season, using fresh tomatoes will take this over the top.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      June 1, 2013

      I always make passata with fresh tomatoes, no other way IMO

      Like

      • StefanGourmet
        June 1, 2013

        Wait until you’ve tried it with Dutch tomatoes in winter…

        Like

      • ladyredspecs
        June 1, 2013

        We’re fortunate in Australia, because of our geography, we’re able to get sweet red ripe tomatoes all year

        Like

  3. ohlidia
    May 31, 2013

    My girls and I just love this dish. Emma calls it eggplant lasagne. Another dish that hubby does so well… Beautiful!

    Like

  4. chef mimi
    May 30, 2013

    This is my kind of comfort food! Delicious! I will be making your pasata this summer!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 31, 2013

      Thanks. Passata is so handy. Having it preprepared means half the work is done for so many recipes

      Like

  5. tinywhitecottagetin
    May 30, 2013

    My kind of dish! Do you think grilling eggplants is the best method? I like my eggplant less mushy in the middle and am wondering if I should just grill it. Or, maybe slice it thinner? What is your opinion?

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 30, 2013

      Part of the appeal of this dish for me is the unctiousness (?) of the multilayered eggplant. I find it tricky to stop eggplant cooking until soft, it’s a very fine line, but if you cut them a little thicker and then used a higher heat and grilled them quickly you might just succeed, though they will need to be very underdone as the oven will finish them off. Good luck with it, I’d love to know if you succeed.

      Like

  6. I guess i can barely finished the whole casseroll…hehehe
    looks damn luscious

    Like

  7. Leah
    May 29, 2013

    YUM! I think this might have actually been the eggplant dish that I was given in Athens that blew my mind….no pasta but seriously to die for and motivated me to try to re-create it multiple times on my return home.

    Like

  8. Cheap Luxury
    May 29, 2013

    The epitome of comfort food!

    Like

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