Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Aubergine Parmigiana

Aubergine Parmigiana, Parmigiana di Melanzane or Parmigiana in Italian, is a classic of the Italian cuisine. It is a dish that belongs specifically to the culinary tradition of 3 Italian regions: Campania, Calabria and Sicily.

Here we make Neapolitan-style Parmigiana, which differs from the Sicilian version in that the aubergines are breaded with eggs and flour.

In the Calabrian version the ingredients change considerably as it is filled with red Tropea onion, boiled eggs and soppressata (or ham).

Layers of deep-fried aubergine slices and au gratin in the oven seasoned with cheese, tomato sauce, basil and garlic. some people try to make the Parmigiana a bit lighter by just griddling aubergine slices instead of deep-frying them. The cheeses usually used in Parmigiana are thus of Italian Southern origin, therefore mozzarella or provola or scamorza.


Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 40 mins

  • Aubergines: 4
  • Fresh mozzarella or Shredded Mozzarella or Scamorza or Provola cheese: 500 g – we have used: cheeses
  • Grated Parmigiano cheese: 100 g
  • Tomato sauce: 800 ml – we have used: italian-tomato
  • Eggs: 3
  • Onion: 1
  • Garlic: 1 clove
  • Basil, fresh: a bunch
  • Plain flour: to taste
  • Salt and pepper: to taste
  • for deep-frying, 1 lt – extra-virgin-olive-oil

Method

Tip: Parmigiana should never be too watery, thus in order to avoid mozzarella releases too much liquid whilst cooking, open it up the day before, remove it from its water and leave it to dry out overnight in the fridge. Anyway, if you do not have fresh mozzarella, you can use the shredded one. Or opt for unsmoked Scamorza or Provola cheese.

Dice Mozzarella or Scamorza or Provola cheese and set aside.

Rinse, dry, cut the aubergines Cut them into slices about half a centimetre thick, usually lengthwise, but you can also slice them widthwise to create round slices.

Beat up the eggs in a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Put some flour in a shallow plate. Lightly flour each aubergine slice, then dip it into the eggs.

Heat up 1 lt of seed oil  and deep-fry the aubergine slices a few at a time. Once cooked through, remove them from the oil with a skimmer and place them on a plate lined with kitchen paper which will absorb some of the oil.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Peel and crush the garlic and finely chop the onion. Fry them up with 1 tbsp of EVOO, as soon as the onion turns golden pour in the tomato sauce, add 3  or 4 basil leaves, season to taste and cook the sauce for 20 minutes. Remove garlic clove.

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the oven dish, then add the fried aubergine slices, mozzarella or provola or scamorza cheese, tomato sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.

Keep forming further layers of aubergine, cheese and sauce, proceed in that fashion until the ingredients are finished.

Bake Parmigiana 200°C for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool it down a bit, then serve.

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