Being a vegetarian is a personal preference and you won’t believe how many delicious recipes are out there that can really make your taste buds tingle. Parmigiana is a baked dish that can be made with chicken, plain mozzarella or aubergines.
Before starting with the cooking process, it is important to remove the water from the aubergine slices. You can do this by adding a layer of eggplant and a layer of salt. This should rest for about an hour before you can finally squeeze the water out.
A traditional Parmigiana does not have many spices besides salt. The flavours come from the protein food, the cheese and the tomato sauce.
- Whilst you are eliminating the water from the aubergines, start making the tomato sauce.
- Chop half an onion finely and let it fry in sunflower oil until transparent.
- Process two cans of blanched and chopped tomatoes using a food mill directly into the pot.
- Add salt and white pepper. Basil is optional but has to be removed once ready.
- Slice mozzarella so that you have enough to cover a full layer in the dish. Grate 250g of Parmesan or as much as you prefer. If you prefer a cheesy dish then the more, the merrier.
- Another optional ingredient you can add to the Parmigiana is Ricotta cheese. Use 500g of the cheese and mix it with egg, salt and black pepper. This mixture will become quite sticky and you might need to put some elbow grease in the spreading of it without displacing the rest of the layered ingredients.
- Layer the baking dish starting with the tomato sauce, aubergine slices, mozzarella slices and then parmesan cheese. Continue layering until you have finished the ingredients or run out of space in the dish.
- Add extra Parmesan to the top of the dish before putting it in the oven for 25 minutes at 220°C.
- You might want to consider greasing the baking dish if the tomato sauce does not have sufficient sunflower oil. The cooking oil will be the element that prevents the entire dish from sticking.
Some things should be considered when cooking this traditional Italian dish:
- Use a glass dish. If anything sticks, it will be easier to take it off the glass surface as opposed to steel or foil.
- A lot of the ingredients are based on what you have and what you prefer. Some chefs prefer to overdo the cheese whilst others would rather limit the amount they use.
- If you are not a fan of aubergines you can always use mushrooms or baby marrows.