Sunday, 4 August 2013

Melanzane alla parmigiana

I've been in Dublin a week. One week exactly, and this dish symbolises a little 'happy anniversary' for me. It's hearty and decadent with none of the sinful staying-on-the-hips ingredients. If you're a vegan simply swap the parmesan for some nutritional yeast and Bob's you're Uncle!

I've talked about aubergines here but they're in season and so good that I just can't resist another recipe!  This is a classic, and I mean a classic recipe but, every family does it differently. I suppose it's like the Italian version of dahl…every family makes it and has their own special recipe...I leave the skins on because I love how it holds the shape but some people peel it off. The skin though, is actually where the phyto nutrients (improve circulation and nourish the brain) are concentrated so you may want to follow my example. I also add finely sliced chilli to the dish rather than flakes to my tomato sauce.

The aubergine is over 90% water which is why when cooked it reduces in size quite a lot. It's also great at soaking up oils and flavours you want to put with it. This is one of the veggies that is a great substitute for meat and in traditional Middle Eastern dishes this is exactly what it's used for. Aubergine is also great for diabetes and the prevention of. So get eating!

Garlic. Who doesn't love this pungent, sticky finger making clump of bulbs. For this recipe I add crushed clumps rather than chop them up. However in the tomato sauce I finely chop the garlic so it breaks down. The tomato sauce for this recipe is so easy. Finely chop an onion, add 4 sliced cloves of garlic and about 4/5 tomatoes depending on size. Fry off the onion and garlic, season and add the cut tomatoes. Pour a little water in and cook on a simmer till broken down. This will keep, freeze and be used as soup!

Just the smell of basil transports me to a place where there is sun and heat. Yum. A lot of people are unaware, but basil is actually native to India. It's a great natural insect repellent due to its super strong smell and there are numerous varieties! Also a great stimulant in the stomach, affecting appetite, digestion, nerves and it's said that it can counteract flatulence. Sir Thomas Moore wrote 'A man taking basil from a woman will love her always'. Maybe that is why it has become so associated with the romantic country Italy?


3 medium aubergines, washed and sliced into 1 inch rings
5 cloves of garlic
handul of basil leaves
1 red chilli, sliced
tomato sauce (homemade or a bottled passata will do)
salt and pepper

Coat the base of the pie dish with a paddle full of tomato sauce. On this place a single layer of aubergine rings. Season with salt and pepper, dot with crushed garlic cloves, basil leaves and chilli slices. Grate parmesan over. Repeat process: tomato sauce, aubergines, season, garlic, basil, chilli and parmesan till all used up. Bake in oven 200C for 20-25minutes or until aubergine slices are soft and the tomato sauce is bubbling away.


  1. Damn courgettes are so versatile and this receipe looks yummie

  2. Hi Ena, in this recipe I use aubergines but you are right…you could absolutely use courgettes instead of aubergines!

  3. Aubergines are a great meat alternative, this looks like a really yummy dinner!

  4. Thanks Aimee, it really is and so easy! Plus it always seems to impress people at the dinner table :)

  5. Looks so good! Aubergines are favorites around our apartment :)

    ps What's the best email to reach you at Jette? x

  6. Thanks Rincy, great to hear from you. Send me pm over twitter and I'll send you details :) Looking forward to meeting next week!x

    1. We need to follow one another for DM! Just followed you ;)