Aubergines in tomato sauce (a.k.a. melanzane alla parmigiana)

Tonight was an opportunity to try our take on a classic Italian aubergine dish ‘melanzane alla parmigiana’.   There are probably several recipes out there but essentially they all entail grilling slices of aubergines, layering them with tomato sauce and then topping it with fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheese before placing under a hot grill.   That is pretty much what we did and the personalization comes with each individuals preferred version of the tomato sauce.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 large aubergines – cut into 5 cm thick slices
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400 gms)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2-3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano (optional – we have some growing in our herb patch)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 3/4 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • Small handful of fresh basil and parsley chopped
  • Handful grated Parmesan chesse
  • 125 gm fresh mozzarella cheese sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Enough for 2 mains or 4 sides

How do I make it?

First rub the aubergine slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place on a griddle pan and cook till they begin to caramelize – keep aside till assembly.   For the sauce, heat some olive oil in a pan and saute the garlic for a minute before adding the red chilli flakes, chopped onion and bay leaves.  Continue to cook on medium heat till the onions are translucent – sprinkle the dried oregano and fresh oregano if you have it.   Add the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of sugar with around 200 ml of water.    Cook on low heat till the sauce thickens.  Adjust the seasoning, add the balsamic vinegar, garnish with fresh basil and parsley and then turn off the heat.

To assemble the dish place alternating layers of aubergine and sauce and finish with sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a layer of fresh mozzarella cheese.  Place under grill at 220 degrees Centigrade till the cheese melts and forms a nice golden crust.  Cut into portions and serve hot.  Enjoy.

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Tricolore salad

As previously stated in one of our earlier blogs tricolore is one of our all time favourite salads and tonight we had one for dinner.  We have normally stuck to the traditional recipe of beef tomatoes, avocados and fresh mozzarella cheese garnished with fresh basil and dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.  This evening we added grated lemon zest  for a change  and it works really well 🙂

Tricolore salad

Salad therapy – Italian nirvana

One of my key challenges on the trip away from home is my ability to stay true to the Paleo lifestyle.  Admittedly it has been tough and I have wavered and cheated a bit.  I enjoyed pulling together a mushroom and tomato sauce pasta accompanied with my all time favourite Italian salad – tricolore with a twist.  Traditionally tricolore is made with beef tomato and fresh mozzarella slices – I used cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls instead (I know cheese is not Paleo but then again my sister and family are not on the same journey are they!).   The pasta we had was gluten free (rice and maize flour) and every time I have it I feel it is lighter than traditional pasta – so even if you are not on a gluten free diet I urge you to give it a try – what’s the worst that could happen.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 10-12 mozzarella balls
  • 2 ripe avacados skinned and chopped into bite size cubes
  • Sprig of fresh basil chopped
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (buy some good salad oil tastes better)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4 as a side salad

How do I make it?

Place all ingredients in a salad bowl.  Sprinkle salt and pepper and the drizzle olive oil and lemon juice.   Mix together gently (don’t want guacamole) and serve.

Footnote:  

Anna and I are not Paleo purists and we make a conscious decision on the non Paleo foods we eat.  We are strict on gluten and wheat but fairly relaxed on other ingredients in moderation.  We have cut back on our rice consumption and as stated in previous blogs we do incorporate rice and maize flour in our diets once a week at best.