Inzane in the Melanzane

Cooking time
Serves2-2 people
Inzane in the Melanzane

Parmigiana di melanzane is classic Italian comfort food, layering fried slices of aubergine with rich tomato sauce and plenty of cheese, topping with breadcrumbs and baking till melted and golden. Here the choice of cheese up to you – or leave it out for a saucy vegan supper.

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  • 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.

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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.
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Nice recipe and quite versatile - I added chopped mushrooms to the tomatoes and only had cheddar and a bit of parmesan (mozzarella might be nicer). Bit much work for a relatively simple recipe, but a filling dinner with a slice of baguette.