Apologies for the slight absence recently in terms of recipes – a combination of being a busy bee, spending a lot of time out and about, and the lack of light (ah winter!) have led to a lack of imagination when it comes to cooking. However, there is one sure-fire way to always get myself out of a cooking rut and that is a dinner party! Stressful enough as it is, but as a food blogger I felt the pressure to cook something amazing even more keenly! For my birthday I had my uni friends over for dinner and drinks, and this aubergine parmigiana was the centrepiece. I don’t have very much experience with cooking with cheese, but this turned out perfectly. I imagine it could also work well with a vegan mozzarella alternative, as long as it’s relatively melty!
Meat is often the centrepiece of a meal, and finding ideas for great looking veggie alternatives isn’t always easy, so it’s something I’m working on finding more of. I think this, or my veggie stuffed butternut squash, or my vegan stuffed butternut squash, are great examples of this if you’re looking for more ideas!
Quick hacks: but frozen chopped onion – it’ll make your life so much easier and save so much time! Also buying grated parmesan saves time too. You could argue it’s lazy, but it could save you losing a fingernail (or a piece of your finger)!
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
Basil (ideally fresh)
Salt and pepper
1 medium sized aubergine
1 mozzarella ball
Finely grated Parmesan
Fresh basil leaves
What to do:
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan)
- In a small pot, heat a little olive oil, then add in the chopped onion and fry on medium heat for at least 5 mins
- Crush the garlic and add it in for a few minutes until soft
- Add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato puree
- Cook down for around 5 minutes, then season to taste with salt, pepper, and a little basil
- Leave to cool for a few minutes
- In the meantime, slice the aubergine almost all the way through but not quite, so it’s still all in one piece. Slice up the mozzarella into thin slices
- Optional: blend up the tomato sauce to it’s an even consistency. Or if you prefer you can leave it chunky. Personally I think smooth looks better!
- Pour the tomato sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish (the dish needs to be large enough to accommodate the aubergine!)
- Roughly chop some basil leaves and place one piece in each aubergine segment
- Place one slice of mozzarella in each segment as well
- Gently place the aubergine in the dish. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. It should now look something like this:
- Cover with foil and place in the oven for an hour
- After an hour, remove the foil and add a generous amount of Parmesan. Place this back in the oven for another 10-15 mins
- When ready, sprinkle a few more basil leaves on top and serve!