food friday: Melanzane alla Parmigiana
Going out for an Italian is the failsafe of many people’s Friday nights, as is a comforting bowl of pasta in front of the telly, but for someone with an insensitivity to gluten it’s a nightmare. I’ve never really eaten pasta for this reason and having done a lot of research on Italian food (and not just the menu of pizza express) over the years, there are actually a lot of options out there for folks like me – risotto, meatballs, creamy sauces and even plenty of veggie options – which means I don’t have to suffer for my Italian fix.
I first tried Melanzane di Parmigiana in a tiny Edinburgh restaurant, which always had it as a starter. The aubergine came out swimming in a sweet and rich tomato sauce with molten parmigiana on top. My version (and most of the recipes out there) is actually more of a pasta bake without the pasta – a cheesy, creamy, giant hug of a meal, perfect served with salad and crusty bread.
Melanzane di Parmigiana alla Smidge
You will need:
- 2 large aubergines
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed (I actually use dried garlic)
- A tablespoon of mixed herbs
- A tablespoon of cinnamon
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- White wine vinegar
- Parmesan cheese
- One mozzarella ball
- Fresh basil
- Kitchen roll or a clean tea towel
- Slice the aubergine into 1cm strips, removing the stalks
- Liberally salt each side of the aubergine and place on the kitchen roll and cover. Leave for 30 mins for the water to be drawn out, aubergines can be very bitter if you don’t do this.
- Heat up the grill and gently grill both sides of the aubergines, without oil until the aubergine is browned and soft.
- Whilst the aubergine is grilling fry off the onion and garlic, add a little water to the pan to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, mixed herbs, torn basil leaves and cinnamon and gently simmer until the sauce reduces. Season liberally.
- Once the sauce is reduced add a splash of white wine vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes more.
- In an oven dish layer the sauce, aubergine, parmesan until the dish is filled up. Make sure you put some sauce on the bottom of the dish so it doesn’t all stick!
- Cover the top of the dish with torn mozzarella and basil.
- Bake for 30 minutes until crispy and bubbling.
- Serve with salad and crusty bread.
Miss S x
P.s I do treat myself occasionally to pasta at the risk of having a bad day the next day, it’s not going to kill me after all and its sooo good. I made an ace chicken carbonara the other evening which is still to be blogged when I have a free week to do so, as is an ace recipe for slow roasted ribs. Maybe I should start a separate blog for my recipes? What do you think?