All my life I’ve wanted to be Italian.
All my life I’ve been disappointed.
The pasta, the pizza, the men. Everything just seems to be molto bene over there. Sadly, I’m descendant from the UK, my family history duller than the atmosphere at a stationary office’s Christmas party, or Christmas morning when you find out Santa isn’t actually real, just a lie your parents told you for seventeen years. Christmas.
Luckily for me, I can at least pretend to be Italian, by claiming its cuisine as my own. This recipe is one I have made time and time again, and is a brilliant option for when your basic vegetarian friends come to visit. You can also make it ahead of time and reheat it for an easy plate at a dinner party. Let’s get cooking good looking.
– 3-4 eggplants, sliced into 1cm thick rounds
– 700g (1 jar) Passata
– 2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves, torn
– 150g parmesan
– 200g fresh bocconcini (baby mozzarella)
– ¾ cup of breadcrumbs, preferably fresh
1. Take a deep breath and remember where you came from
2. Preheat your oven to about 180 degrees and grease your baking dish (choose one deep enough to pack in all of your ingredients- a lasagne dish would be perfect))
3. Lightly fry the eggplant on each side in a fry pan with a little drizzle of oil in the base of a pan, about 2 min each side. Continue until all eggplant has been cooked
4. Douse the bottom of your baking dish with passata, and layer some of the eggplant rounds
5. Top with one third of the sauce, the basil and the cheeses. Repeat this layering until complete
6. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and extra bocconcini over the top and bake uncovered for around 20-30 minutes until golden. Serve with crusty bread, red wine and some Andrea Bocelli beats in the background. Belissimo.