Aubergines are a typical Mediterranean food packed full of vitamins and, like tomatoes, have been found to contain a compound that helps prevent cancer. They are so flavoursome and versatile that they are widely used in French, Spanish and Italian cooking.
This is one of my favourite Italian recipes which I cooked this weekend as the local market was selling lovely fresh aubergines and beautiful baby plum tomatoes for a £1 a bowl. Cheap, healthy and delicious. It’s a tomato sauce that does not contain onions- so less time needed for chopping and no frying required.
Prep to Plate: Prep: 10 mins Cooking time: 30mins
Ingredients (feeds 6-8)
- 2 large aubergines
- 1lb baby plum or cherry tomatoes (0r 400g can chopped tomatoes)
- 250g mozzarella cheese
- 50g Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- 1 tspn sugar
- 1 tbspn powdered vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- swig of wine (optional but good use of any leftovers)
- olive oil
- Chop off stalks and slice aubergines lengthways in thin tranches. Sprinkle with salt.
- If using fresh tomatoes, chop them in half and put into a saucepan with enough water to cover tomatoes. If using tinned tomatoes simply empty into pan.
- Add 2 tbspns oil, garlic, basil, sugar, veg stock, salt, pepper and glug of wine to pan.
- Cover pan and simmer gently for about 15 mins. Remove lid and continue to cook gently until sauce thickens (about another 15 minutes). Once sauce thickens set to one side.
- Pat aubergine slices with kitchen paper to remove salt. Brush each slice with olive oil and grill for several minutes on each side until tender and slightly charred. (They can be cooked on an electric griddle/large sandwich toaster)
- Grate mozzarella and parmesan and mix together in a bowl.
- Spoon about a quarter of tomato sauce on the bottom of a large oven proof dish. Then add one layer of aubergines followed by a layer of cheese.
- Repeat the layers finishing with a layer of tomato sauce sauce topped with remaining cheeses.
- Bake in moderate oven (200°C , 400°F, Gas mark 6) for about 35 minutes.
This dish can be eaten on its own with bread and a side salad or with pasta.
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