A lasagne with a difference: swap aubergine layers for pasta sheets

What’s for Dinner?: Gina Daly’s classic Italian dish of melanzane alla parmigiana

Melanzane Alla Parmigiana

Melanzane Alla Parmigiana

 

Gina Daly is cookbook author and food Instagrammer @thedalydish

November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth
November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth

My melanzane alla parmigiana is a classic Italian dish that is basically like lasagne but uses aubergine layers instead of pasta sheets. We had the pleasure of eating this in a very small traditional restaurant when we visited Rome.

The chef even came out to chat to us (in Italian, which we can’t speak) and make sure we ate it all. So there was lots of oohs and ahhs, a language we can all understand when it comes to food.

What you’ll need

Serves 4 to 6
3 large aubergines, thinly sliced lengthways
400ml passata
1 tin of finely chopped tomatoes
½ tbsp garlic powder
½ tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp Italian seasoning or mixed herbs
½ tsp chilli flakes (if you like a kick)
1 herb stockpot
Sweetener, to taste
50g finely grated Parmesan cheese
60g fresh light mozzarella
Low calorie spray oil

How to make it

1 Slice the aubergines into very thin slices, fry off until brown on a pan with a spray of oil or pop into an air fryer for 6-10 minutes, until cooked through. .

2 The sauce: In a large pan add the passata, chopped tomatoes, sweetener, spices and the stockpot. Bring to a simmer and stir well until the herb pot has blended into the sauce. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce reduces and thickens.

3 In a medium sized ovenproof dish, add a thin layer of the sauce, a layer of the aubergine, until it covers the sauce, then another layer of the sauce with a sprinkle of the Parmesan. Keep repeating this until you use up all the aubergine and finish with a layer of the sauce sprinkled again with the Parmesan and finally the mozzarella.

4 Pop into a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden.

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