This is a wonderful dish I learnt from my husband’s Italian relatives. Whenever I serve it, it is eaten with gusto and lots of delightful sounds coming from guests. It can be served as an accompaniment or as a meal in it itself with salad and a rustic loaf of bread. When choosing your eggplant, find firm medium size fruit. My father in law prefers the ones that only have a few seeds when cut open. I have grown eggplant in my garden in normal garden beds. They are easy to grow and don’t need spraying.

Use the best olive oil you can buy when dressing your food but for cooking, it does not have to be of such a high standard. Once you heat olive oil it’s properties change. The passata is available at supermarkets or any good italian deli. If you belong to an Italian family you might be able to get your hands on a home made bottle.

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1 bottle of passata 700 ml bottle
4 medium aubergines
1/2 chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 handful fresh basil
1 handful fresh oregano

1/2 cup of vegetable stock

Oilive oil

250 g mozzarella

Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan


Dice the onions and chop the garlic finely, and fry in olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Add the Passata to the saucepan and stir to combine everything. Add the oregano and season with salt and pepper. Taste to check whether you need more salt . Add more olive oil for flavour. Set the finished sauce aside.

To prepare the eggpalnt or  aubergine, slice it into rounds about 1 cm thick, lightly salt to remove the juices and leave in a colander over a sink for half an hour.The eggplant will have little beads of moisture on them. Wash and pat dry then fry each round in olive oil (the aubergine slices are like little sponges, so you’ll need plenty), until brown on each side. Drain on kitchen paper and season with salt and pepper.

First spoon some sauce into the bottom of the baking dish then set out a layer of aubergine slices in the bottom of a baking dish. Place some basil leaves on top. Pour over a layer of sauce, layer some grated mozzarella and parmesan, then more aubergine, more basil, more sauce and so on. If you think it looks a little dry you can add a sprinkle of vegetable stock over the whole dish.When you’ve used everything up, sprinkle over the parmesan and bake for 45 minutes at 180° C, until brown on top. Scatter over some fresh basil.

Buono Apetito

Serve with crusty bread to mop up the rich juices.

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