parmigiana di melanzane between lasagne sheets

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Some time ago on her blog eat in my kitchen Meike Peters (I wrote about her books) presented a perfect recipe for parmigiana di melanzane. I decided to try it & announced likewise alongside. My better half, not a real aubergine lover, thought about it & asked if we might add some pasta … So I grabbed not only aubergines, tomato sauce & cheese, but also some lasagne sheets & started.

More about this soon.

What did I do in the meantime?
Only some days ago I wrote about watching series … one of the few pleasures in Corona times.

I started knitting. Once again. Sometimes I think that I should create something out of yarn & I start knitting. Not so often. Maybe once a year or less. I admit it’s more often that I see some nice interesting yarn somewhere … & just order it – just to be prepared.

I think knitting is an excellent occupation when watching TV, especially soul food series. The only one who doesn’t agree is our cat. She likes to jump in my lap eager for rubbing by me & then slowly dozing off. So I always have to watch out if she plans to undercut my knitting project.

I had in my closet some yarn, a mix of cotton & alpaca wool since last year. All the summer I wasn’t eager to knit anything. Now I decided to do a cardigan. I’m working at the back … & will be working on this project for some more weeks or so.

I never did any knitting in public. (I remember from university days girls w/ knitting equipment in lecture halls.) I also didn’t raise the bar for any knitting projects. Either I have an instruction going w/ the yarn or I take one of my favorite jumpers as a model. So it’s all low key.

Coming back from nostalgic pondering to my special lasagne.

So there are lasagne sheets. No homemade lasagne sheets, but bought at my trusted food store and w/o any need of precooking. (This helps simplifying the task a lot.)

I had also 2 nice aubergines which would need some preparation – rather a lot of preparation – before ready for the lasagne session.

I trimmed the aubergines & cut them lengthwise in small slices (try 0.5 cm each & be happy when managing about 1 cm). Then I grabbed a colander, arranged a ring of aubergine slices & added salt. Then the next ring appeared etc. I put the colander in my sink because of the liquid dripping off.

After about 30 min I lined a baking tray w/ baking parchment & arranged the aubergine slices after having patted them dry. W/ a brush I added some olive oil on each slice. (For 2 aubergines 1 baking tray will be enough.)

The baking tray marched into the oven for about 30 min at 175° C w/ fan.

Afterwards there are nice soft aubergine slices. Set them aside for the moment.

For the record:
The original recipe doesn’t bake the aubergines in an oven, but fries them in a pan. They’ ll get a lot browner in this case.

The next step is the preparation of the tomato sauce. We need:

  • tomato pulp
  • tomato purée
  • shallots
  • a carrot
  • cloves of garlic
  • anchovies
  • a bay leave
  • dried herbs Mediterranean style like herbs of Provence.

All is cleaned, trimmed, peeled, chopped, finely chopped … & fried softly in a pan w/ some olive oil for about 30 min.

Afterwards we whisk together the tomato pulp, the tomato purée & the fried mess. Ready. Set aside for the moment.

For the lasagne we need lasagne sheets (8 of them) & mozzarella & freshly grated parmesan or pecorino. I happened to have only a small edge of parmesan, so I mixed parmesan w/ pecorino. It works.

Now all is ready for the lasagne:

  • lasagne sheets
  • tomato sauce
  • roasted aubergines
  • mozzarella
  • grated parmesan/pecorino.

You know that a photo is always better than a long explanation … so have a look at the following photos displaying how to assemble the lasagne.

Finally, after having processed all the ingredients, we get a raw lasagne covered in grated parmesan/pecorino.

It marches in the oven for about 20 min at 180° C w/ fan.

For the record:
You may store the prepared lasagne for some hours in your fridge before starting the oven session.

Imagine the casserole coming out of the oven still bubbling … this smell … you’ll like to grab a fork & just start devouring …

There is this crispy top, however, below there is just softness & creaminess!

Be sure that there will be 4 generous pieces … You may also put leftovers in your fridge for next day or so. Be sure it won’t last long …

Enjoy!

parmigiana di melanzane between lasagne sheets
Prep Time1 hr 20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 4
ingredients:
for the aubergines:
  • 2 aubergines (about 600 g)
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
for the tomato sauce:
  • 400 g Italian tomato pulp (1 can)
  • 70 g Italian tomato purée (1 can)
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 carrot
  • 2-3 anchovies (in oil)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp dried Mediterranean herbs (e. g. herbs of Provence)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
for the layering:
  • 8 lasagne sheets (no pre-cooking required)
  • 250 g mozzarella (2 balls)
  • 50 g parmesan or pecorino (freshly grated)
equipment:
  • casserole (20 x 20 cm)
how to:
for the aubergines:
  • Clean & trim the aubergines. Cut them lengthwise into slices of about 1-1.5 cm thickness.
  • Add salt generously & put the slices in a colander. Wait for about 30 min. Water will drip off. Pat the aubergine slices dry.
  • Line a baking tray w/ baking parchment, arrange the aubergine slices & brush them w/ olive oil.
  • Let the aubergines bake in the oven at 175° C for about 30 min. Then took the tray out of the oven.
  • Now the aubergines are ready for the lasagne.
for the tomato sauce:
  • Start chopping the shallots finely. Clean & trim & peel the carrots & chop the carrot finely. Chop the anchovies.
  • In a pan fry everything softly in olive oil. Press the garlic. Add the herbs & the bay leaf.
  • Let it fry for about 30 min.
  • Mix the tomato pulp & the tomato purée. Add salt & pepper to taste. Add a pinch of sugar.
  • Add the fried mess & mix thoroughly.
for the lasagne:
  • Grate the parmesan resp. the pecorino.
  • Cut the mozzarella into slices.
for the layering:
  • Grab a casserole big enough for 2 lasagne sheets in a layer (about 20 x 20 cm).
  • Add some tomato mess on bottom. Add 2 lasagne sheets.
  • Add more tomato mess & a generous layer of baked aubergine slices.
  • Add mozzarella & grated cheese.
  • Add another 2 lasagne sheets & repeat … & repeat.
  • Finish w/ 2 lasagne sheets, add the rest of the tomato mess, the rest of the cheese.
  • Let it bake in the oven at 180° C w/ fan for about 20 min.
Notes
Prep Time: The aubergines will need about 15 min of preparation. The rest period of 30 min is on top. The tomato mess will need about 15 min. Assembling the lasagne will take about 20 min.
Cook Time: The oven session for the aubergines will be 30 min as well as the frying of the tomato mess. The lasagne will take 20 min in the oven.
The casserole will deliver 4 generous pieces of lasagne. 
Leftovers may be put in the fridge for 3-4 days & reheated in the microwave.
Sorry: no experience w/ freezing.

(information on equipment)

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