Light Aubergine Parmigiana

I made this to go with the salad below. I’ve put a few aubergine dishes up here before, but then, I seem to cook them pretty often, and haven’t yet put up one *exactly* like this… I am calling this ‘light’ because other versions involve substantially more cheese and oil; for example, a very delicious one I recently ate for lunch at Italia Uno Café on Charlotte Street in London consisted of almost more melted cheese (mozzerella, I think) than aubergine!

Served three, and then two for lunch with leftovers

Ingredients:

3 medium sized aubergines, sliced no more than a centimeter thick.

1 tin, good quality tinned tomatoes

A handful of very ripe, fresh tomatoes, sliced into chunks (or just another tin, I just had some nice ripe ones to use)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed with a pinch of salt

1 tub ricotta (normally 150-200g)

about 150g grated Parmesan

handful of fresh basil (optional)

pinch of chilli flakes (optional)

How I made it:

Place slices of aubergine in a colander with a good sprinkling of salt all over them, and leave for 30 minutes in the sink (salting releases their bitter juices). Turn on grill to high. Dry the aubergines and brush with olive oil, and grill on each side until well-browned and the flesh is cooked (when cooked it will be very soft inside, like mashed banana). 

While the aubergines are grilling, heat 2 tablespoons of good olive oil in a frying pan or saucepan, place on a medium heat and add chopped garlic and a pinch of chilli flakes (optional). When it is aromatic, but not brown, add tomatoes (tinned and fresh). Cook so bubbling on a low-medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, reduce enough so that it’s not really watery. When sauce is finished, add in fresh, torn basil leaves and season with salt.

When aubergines are grilled, set aside and turn oven on to about 180 degrees celsius. In a ceramic oven dish large enough to contain the sauce and aubergine, spread some tomato sauce on the bottom, then cover with a layer of aubergine, and a few blobs of ricotta and repeat until all tomato and aubergine is used up. Cover top with more ricotta blobs and a generous sprinkling of parmesan, so it covers the top.

Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling.

Eaten with:

Green salad, good bread and a glass of wine.

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