Eggplant/Aubergine/melanzane with mozzarella baked in the oven; what is not to like about this classic Italian dish. I have been experimenting with adapting this classic Italian dish called Melanzane Parmigiana to be healthier and quicker to make. So if you're craving lasagne or pizza for dinner but would like a quick and healthier option, then try this recipe, I am sure it will please your appetite just as much.  Listed below are two options; one using a store bought sauce for a quick and simple mid week meal or if you want to make your own sauce from scratch I have included my recipe below. Both taste delicious. I am tending to cheat and make the quick version at least once a week now. If you prepare your aubergine/eggplant the day before then it is even quicker. I am sure you'll love it.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplant sliced in rings and rinsed, baked or grilled for 10 minutes 160˚
  • 2 mozzarella balls
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts (optional)
  • small bunch of basil
  • 400g pasta sauce - I use Barilla Arrabbiata (spicy)
  • Olive oil

Made from Scratch Tomato Sauce

  • 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • a small onion chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • a sprinkle of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 400g crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of white sugar
  • a small bunch of thyme cooked in the sauce - remove when layering

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C and lightly oil a glass rectangular baking dish.
  2. Prepare your eggplant - I usually do this step the day before then the recipe is super quick to make. Thinly slice and rinse, allow the eggplant to dry out, then roast on a lined tray in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes. Or grill for 5 minutes on either side.*Most new varieties don't need salting like the older seeded varieties, so they are quicker to prepare.
  3. Layer the cooked eggplant so the base in completely covered, spread a layer of sauce over the eggplant tear of small chunks of the mozzarella, add some grated parmesan cheese, repeat another two - three times until the aubergine is used. On the very final layer top with parmesan cheese. Then sprinkle with pine nuts and torn basil.
  4. Baked for 30 minutes and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving add fresh basil for a hint of wow.
  5. Enjoy with fresh bread and a mixed salad.

Sauce Method

  1. To prepare the sauce, saute the chopped onion for 10 minutes
  2. Add the crushed garlic and saute for another few minutes
  3. Add tomatoes, paste and spices and simmer until reduced for approximately 10-15 minutes. (to save time use a prepare bottled sauce eg bolognese sauce)