- A few splashes of olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 glass of red wine (optional)
- A splash of balsamic vinegar
- A pinch of fresh chilli or chilli powder, to taste
- Fresh thyme or rosemary leaves, chopped
- 1 aubergine, sliced into thin rounds
- ½ lemon, juice only
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3-4 handfuls grated cheese*
- Breadcrumbs (optional)
Prep: 15 mins | Cook: 40 mins
*Any cheese will work – try Parmesan, torn mozzarella, dollops of goat’s cheese or grated cheddar. Or leave the cheese out to feed a vegan crowd.
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6.
2. Warm a splash of olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the onion and bay leaf and cook till softened. Tip in the tomatoes, stir and cook till thickened. Add the wine and/or balsamic vinegar and let it reduce. Add a little chilli and thyme and cook for a few mins.
3. Squeeze a little lemon over the aubergine slices. Season well.
4. Warm a large frying pan on a high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a layer of aubergine slices. Fry till golden on both sides, then lift out onto a plate. Add a little more oil, if needed, and repeat, cooking the aubergine in batches, a layer at a time.
5. Taste the sauce. Add a little salt or pepper as needed.
6. In baking dishes, layer the aubergine slices with the sauce and the cheese. Repeat till everything’s used up. Finish with a layer of cheese and top off with the breadcrumbs.
7. Bake for 10-15 mins, or till golden on top.