Melanzane alla parmigiano

This has become a specialty of Tim’s over the last couple of months. Make it a day ahead, if you can, to let the flavours meld.

You’ll Need:

1 onion

2 – 3 cloves of garlic

800 ml crushed tomatoes

3 eggplants (aubergine, melanzane, what you will)

a large chunk of Parmigiano reggiano

drop of balsamic vinegar

Oregano, salt and pepper

a good amount of olive oil

1. Sauté an onion and two or three cloves of garlic in a goodly glug of olive oil. Add 800 ml of crushed tomatoes. Stir and let this bubble away on a low setting while you get on with the melanzane.

2. Slice three good-sized eggplants lengthwise and grill. Olive oil can be liberally brushed on the eggplant to give them that golden glow and help with the caramelization. Set aside.

3. Grate up a lot of Parmigiano reggiano. (You can call it Pamesan if you like, but why call an Italian masterpiece by its French name?)

4. Having let the sauce simmer for half an hour, add a dollop of balsamic vinegar to it and season with oregano, preferably fresh, and salt and pepper.

5. You’re ready to go. Put a ladle of the sauce in the bottom of a casserole. Cover with a layer of the grilled eggplant. Sprinkle with lots of cheese. Now repeat: sauce, eggplant, cheese, until the ingredients are all used up. Jamie Oliver suggests a dash of olive oil on the top and some fresh thyme. I heartily endorse this suggestion. You can also add some torn strips of mozzarella, if you like, but it isn’t called melanzane alla mozzarella, is it?)

6. Cover with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes in a hot oven, until it bubbles.

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