Simple hearty vegetarian dish that warms your winter nights. Couldn’t be easier!
1 medium eggplant
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic
2 handfuls mixed cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato double concentrates
About 1 cup of Passata or tomato puree
150 g pizza mozzarella, cut into strips
100 g 12 months aged parmesan, finely grated
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180 C, with fan assisted broil function.
Trim eggplant and slice cross-length into 1 cm thick pieces. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt, toss in a colander, and let sit for 10 min to sweat. This process helps to remove bitterness.
Thinly slice garlic. Halve cherry tomatoes.
Use kitchen paper to pat eggplant slices dry. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in medium frying pan on medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper and sear for 2 min until surface has coloured but is not completely cooked through, as they will continue to cook during baking. Set aside partially cooked eggplant slices on kitchen paper and finish cooking rest of eggplant slices.
Using the same pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium high heat. Fry garlic until fragrant but not brown, about 30 sec, then add tomato concentrate. Stir and cook until fragrant. Add tomato halves, then season with salt. Finally, add passata and season with salt and pepper again. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 min. Remove from heat.
Ladle a couple of tablespoonfuls of tomato sauce on base of small, ovenproof container. Place eggplant slices on top of the sauce, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with mozzarella strips, then repeat for three more layers of sauce, eggplant, and cheese. End with remaining mozzarella (or extra if you want more cheese!) and sprinkle with Parmesan and a splash of olive oil. Put assembled dish on middle rack of oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from oven and let rest for 10 min before serving. Top with chili flakes.
Serve with rustic bread or buttery pasta of your choice.