Ingredients for 8 people:
6 garlic cloves, chopped
4 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
150g Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp dried oregano (optional)
500g mozzarella, torn into pieces
2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
A few leaves of basil
Fry the garlic in a small amount of olive oil in a saucepan until golden.
Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until glossy. I also added a tablespoon of oregano to add more flavour but this is optional. Now is also a good time to season with salt and pepper.
While the tomatoes are cooking, cut the aubergines into slices about 1cm thick.
Sprinkle with a little salt and then shallow fry them in olive oil in a frying pan, turning once until they are golden on both sides. This is what is so time consuming about this recipe - I ended up using two frying pans at the same time.
You use up a lot of oil doing this because if the aubergine dry fries it will burn. I was shocked by the amount of oil I used!! The aubergine will hoover up a terrifying quantity so rest the slices between sheets of kitchen roll to soak some of it out. Pascal also recommends pressing down on the aubergine with a fork to release some of their natural juices to cook in as well.
When the sauce is cooked, squash the lumps out with the back of a spoon - I did this kind of half heartedly and it didn't make a difference.
Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan / gas mark 4.
In an oven proof dish, put a layer of aubergines.
Then one of the tomato sauce.
Then a layer of Parmesan (I didn't have enough Parmesan so added some grated cheddar as well).
Repeat until all the ingredients are used up (probably three layers) but make sure you finish with sauce.
Scatter with torn up mozzarella and any remaining Parmesan.
Cook for 25 minutes. Blitz the breadcrumbs if you are using bread.
Then scatter with the breadcrumbs and turn up the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas mark 6 and cook for 15 minutes or until it is golden and bubbling.
Finally serve with some basil leaves. We ate the dish with a Roast Leg of Lamb and it was absolutely delicious. (I failed on taking a final picture - the pressures of entertaining)!!
When I was cooking the aubergines, it took so long I was thinking to myself I will never cook this recipe again, however after eating it, I thought I cannot wait to cook this again and it tastes incredible. It was amazing!!
It is a great dish for a dinner party as I made it all the day before up until covering with the mozzarella so that and the breadcrumbs was all I had to do before I put it in the oven - completely hassle free. I am having the girls round for supper the weekend after next and this will definitely be on the menu…therefore I can concentrate on gossiping and drinking wine rather than the cooking!