A hearty Italian meal with added smokey flavour from the Pesto, to reduce the time spent making this dish you can prepare the tomato sauce in advance and keep if refrigerated.
3 aubergines, stalks removed, cut lengthways into 1.5cm slices
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1tsp dried oregano
3 tins chopped tomatoes
75g dried breadcrumbs
3 Mozzarella balls, approx. 375g in total, cut into rounds
Handful of fresh basil (approx. 30g)
100g Parmesan, finely grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Lay the aubergine slices on a tray and salt, if possible, place a heavy object on top of them. Leave for an hour to release excess water.
- Place a medium saucepan on a medium heat, combine the onion, garlic, oregano and tomatoes and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, stir through the Pesto and using a hand-blender, or food processor, blitz into a smooth consistency.
- Heat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas Mark 6.
- Remove weight from aubergines and dry with a kitchen towel. Drizzle the Olive Oil over all the slices of aubergine, turn to coat both sides and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until soft and beginning to colour. Remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 175C/Fan 155C/Gas Mark 3.
- In a deep, medium-sized baking dish place a little of the tomato sauce on the bottom then layer with aubergine slices (do not worry about gaps). Sprinkle breadcrumbs over and add a few slices of Mozzarella and basil leaves. Repeat these steps two more times or until ingredients are used up. Finish the top layer with the Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven at for 40 minutes or until golden on top and bubbling at the edges. Rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.