Melanzane parmigiana

Melanzane parmigiana

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(35 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 1 hr, 25 mins

More effort

Serves 4 - 6

This classic bake with tomato, aubergine and vegetarian mozzarella and Parmesan-style cheese is ideal for entertaining

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving (6)

  • kcal481
  • fat27g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs37g
  • sugars25g
  • fibre17g
  • protein24g
  • salt1.3g
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 thyme sprigs

    Thyme

    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 8 large sage leaves, finely chopped
    Sage

    Sage

    sa-age

    Popular in both Italian and British cookery, sage has long, grey-green leaves with a slightly…

  • 4 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tsp golden caster or granulated sugar
  • 6 large aubergines, sliced lengthways as thinly as you can
    Aubergine

    Aubergine

    oh-ber-geen

    Although it's technically a fruit (a berry, to be exact), the aubergine is used as a…

  • 100g vegetarian parmesan-style cheese, finely grated
  • 85g white breadcrumb
  • 50g pine nut
  • 2 x 125g balls vegetarian mozzarella cheese, torn into small chunks
  • handful basil leaves

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan (or wide saucepan), add the garlic, thyme and sage, and cook gently for a few mins. Tip in the tomatoes, vinegar and sugar, and gently simmer for 20-25 mins until thickened a little.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a griddle (or frying) pan. Brush the aubergine slices on both sides with olive oil, then griddle in batches. You want each slice softened and slightly charred, so don’t have the heat too high or the aubergine will char before softening. Remove to a plate as you go.

  3. In a large baking dish, spread a little of the tomato sauce over the base. Mix 25g of the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs and pine nuts, and set aside. Top the sauce with a layer or two of aubergine slices, then season well. Spoon over a bit more sauce, then scatter over some mozzarella, Parmesan and basil leaves. Repeat, layering up – and finish with the last of the tomato sauce. Scatter over the cheesy breadcrumbs and chill for up to 24 hrs, or bake straight away.

  4. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Bake for 30-40 mins until the top is crisp and golden, and the tomato sauce bubbling. Rest for 10 mins, then scatter with basil leaves and serve with salad and focaccia (see 'goes well with').

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Comments, questions and tips

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Liliya Evtimova's picture
Liliya Evtimova
21st Dec, 2019
3.05
I guess this is some wiered English version of Parmigiana recipe. I mean should still be yummy, but in original Parmigiana there is no bread crumbs, no sugar (3tbs is insane and unhealthy). You could add a pinch of sugar in the tomatoes. Where is the parmigiano cheese? :D Skipping few of the steps should be fine hahha
pyramid
26th May, 2020
the recipe says 3 teaspoons not 3 tablespoons
landlordhere's picture
landlordhere
9th Jan, 2019
5.05
I followed the recipe (with dried herbs instead of fresh) and it's absolutely delicious! Chopping and frying all the aubergine took about 2 hours though so do set aside a good bit of time to do it.
Honeygran
30th Sep, 2018
4.05
Pretty much did it as recipe, halving it for just 2 of us. Plenty left for another 2 servings. Next time I would grill the aubergines a bit longer but was worried about charring them too much. Recipe doesn’t mention that extra oil is needed to brush them - aubergines are quite absorbent so probably needed 1tbsp each. Result was very tasty, though. I served it with homemade whole meal focaccia and salad which worked well.
blimpy007
4th Apr, 2017
Sick and tired of these recipes that say 30 mins prep. Mary Berrys Melanzine pasta dish was only meant to take "less than 30 mins" and it took 2 DAYS !
pboorm's picture
pboorm
27th Apr, 2016
5.05
I used half aubergine and half courgette to get a range of textures!
urbankaos85
14th Feb, 2016
There is no need for vinegar and sugar in the tomato sauce. Cooking the tomatoes gently, for at least an hour, will caramelise the natural sugars in the tomatoes. This is the way we (=Italians) do it! Traditionally the tomato sauce will only have a very generous amount of basil. No sage or other herbs please! Basil makes the sauce taste fresh and smells delicious. The pinenuts are not included inthe original recipe and are unnecessary. It is also unnecessary to put the aubergine slices in salt to soak up the bitterness- nowadays aubergines are naturally sweet. With Italian food, simplicity works best! M
harerip
25th Sep, 2015
Made this with what was available in the house and garden this evening(most of it!) The cheese a west country salty hard cheese and the herbs fresh and cold, sliced oil roasted aubergine.(getting the aubergine soft and melting before the build seems important) OK not authentic rustic food but a very good tasty dish, better than what we ate on recent trips to Sienna and Rome
MichaeltheGreat
15th Jul, 2015
4.05
Did this totally different - used sweet potato and zucchini - added a layer of lasagna sheets with chilli and an onion
madkat1981
22nd May, 2015
This isn't authentic melanzane alla parmigiana. Sage leaves? Sugar? Red wine vinegar? In fact many of these ingredients are not necessary. And as for chopped tomatoes, ugh!!! Where is the egg and flour? The hour that you have to press the aubergines to drain them? So glad my mama is Italian and I have a decent recipe. I came on here looking for new ideas but I will stick to what I know, lol

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Nigel P
17th Nov, 2019
4.05
I just want to ask what's with all the vegetarian cheese? I thought cheese was vegetarian. Does it mean cheese substitute? Or does it just mean rennet free? I just make Felicity Cloake's version of this in the Guardian. I think the brushing aubergines with oil here sounds much better, plus there's adequate sauce. She uses 800g of tinned tomatoes with 1.5kg aubergines, which is four big aubergines. Here there's 1600g of toms with six aubergines. Her recipe hasn't anything like enough sauce, so this one sounds very good. The rather sniffy comments about the wine seem misplaced, it may not be exactly traditional, but in Cloake's recipe, it does make delicious sauce, though I take the point about the sugar being overdone. I used 1tsp, so even though there's more sauce here, it's too much I think. But I wonder if the commenter who said it was sickly sweet maybe used heaped teaspoons? I also wonder about the mozarella in the bake. We recently ate this dish at a restaurant and I think there was only parmesan between the layers. It was very intense, on the dry side and utterly delicious. I shall be trying this one. It's odd that you're asked to rate the recipe here when you haven't actually tried it!
megh18
21st Jul, 2015
Can this be frozen?
maryroe2012
29th Apr, 2020
5.05
Delicious dish. I didn't have enough aubergines so substituted a layer of courgettes and a layer of celeriac (thinly sliced and parboiled rather than griddled). The combination worked very well and I'd do the same again. I griddled the aubergines on a non-stick griddle without oil. It worked fine. No toughness or bitterness.
Ani Nishanian's picture
Ani Nishanian
28th Jun, 2019
Instead of brushing my aubergines which takes a lot of extra oil, as aubergines are very absorbent, I find the following method very effective: put your sliced aubergines in a large bowl, drizzle a little olive oil over them, toss carefully by hand, making sure they are all coated. In many other dishes, I also add the herbs and seasoning at this stage too, as it distributes evenly without the need to brush or sprinkle while in the pan. Another thing, the recipe does not mention 'sweating' the aubergines! I am very surprised, because if you don't sprinkle the slices with salt and let them 'sweat out' the bitter juice, (rinse and wipe them afterwards), the aubergines will taste bitter and ruin your dish.
_goose
3rd Jul, 2017
5.05
I substitute Frylight spray on either side of the aubergine as this uses much less oil and makes the dish less greasy overall. Get 2 frying pans or griddles on the go to speed up the cooking time. It's worth putting the time in with this as charring the aubergine improves the flavour. I also don't use the vinegar or sugar and cook the tomatoes for a good hour. This thicker sauce will mean that you can cut into it afterward and it will stand on the plate and you can see all the lovely layers, rather than it all falling apart. Often I'll make a bigger batch of the tomato sauce and separate it into batches as this can then be used for other dishes.
DEB555
7th Jan, 2017
To speed things up and reduce the fat content rather than griddling/frying the aubergines simply boil them for approx. 5 mins until soft.
urbankaos85
14th Feb, 2016
There is no need for vinegar and sugar in the tomato sauce. Cooking the tomatoes gently, for at least an hour, will caramelise the natural sugars in the tomatoes. This is the way we (=Italians) do it! Traditionally the tomato sauce will only have a very generous amount of basil. No sage or other herbs please! Basil makes the sauce taste fresh and smells delicious. The pinenuts are not included inthe original recipe and are unnecessary. It is also unnecessary to put the aubergine slices in salt to soak up the bitterness- nowadays aubergines are naturally sweet. With Italian food, simplicity works best! M
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