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Classic Eggplant Parmigiana

Classic Eggplant Parmigiana

This is a lovely dish based on a recipe in Dish magazine which I have very slightly adapted and simplified. It is one of my all-time favourite vegetarian Italian dishes – a true classic and unlike some Eggplant Parmigiana dishes, whilst super tasty, is not too rich and doesn’t take long to make - enjoy



Jar of ready-made Italian tomato sauce or passata – Farro have a well-priced Sicilian cherry tomato sauce with basil which is ideal for this dish (image below)

400-gram tin chopped Italian tomatoes

1 onion finely chopped

Capsicum – if you have some leftover capsicum sitting in your frig, chop it up finely and add it to the onion. You don’t have to use capsicum, I just like them

1 clove garlic, crushed

¼ teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon soft brown sugar

50ml red wine

¼–⅓ cup olive oil

2–3 eggplants (about 800 grams) or 6-7 small eggplants or 5-6 long Fijian eggplants! Sorry about the confusion – they all work, ends trimmed and cut into ½–1cm slices 

200 grams firm mozzarella, grated – you can buy 250 gm packets of firmish mozzarella from the supermarket

80 grams parmesan cheese, grated

½ cup basil leaves, torn

60 grams buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks. Farro have this beautiful mozzarella, IL CASARO MOZZARELLA. It really is an Italian Artisan Mozzarella Cheese and very easily torn (image below)

Sea salt and black pepper



1.      Gently sauté the onions (and capsicum if included) in a large frying pan until soft and just starting to brown.

2.      Transfer to a medium-sized sauce pan and add the tomatoes and sauce/passata over a gentle heat. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, sugar and wine and season to taste. Stir to dissolve the sugar, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes until reduced and thickened. 

3.      Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in the large frying pan. Fry the eggplant slices for a couple of minutes each side, over a medium-high heat, until soft and cooked through. Repeat until all of the eggplant is cooked. There is a fine line between dry, tasteless eggplant, and mushy, oily eggplant – the trick is to keep the pan fairly hot, then do not be tempted to add more oil all the time. You want to end up with slices that are cooked through, moist and tasty. 

4.      Preheat the oven to 180°C. 

5.      Lightly brush the base and sides of a 24cm round oven dish with olive oil. Start with a very thin layer of tomato sauce, followed by snug slices of eggplant topped with grated mozzarella, a good sprinkling of parmesan, then basil leaves, and salt and pepper. 

6.      Repeat layer finishing with tomato sauce, a sprinkling of grated mozzarella and parmesan and the buffalo mozzarella dotted over the top. Cook for 30 minutes, then allow to sit for 10 minutes and add some extra basil just before serving

7.       Serve with a big green salad – we serve this very simply with just rocket


Serves 4 - 6