This meal is a serious contender for our favourite food of all time (and not the kind of contender that changes depending on what mood we're in or what food we happen to be eating - this is serious!) Aubergine (that is, melanzane or mul-an-yarn as it has been anglicised in our family at least) is one of our favourite vegetables and once you add cheese and tomato it just gets better and better. This is a regular feature at Hannah's Nonna's Sunday lunch and no matter how hard we try we just can't beat it! This recipe is as close as we get, although that still is pretty damn tasty. Given all the frying involved, it's probably not the healthiest of dishes, despite being vegetarian, but still makes for a great meat-free treat. This recipe serves two for dinner (with salad and garlic bread) but would serve more as part of a larger, longer Sunday lunch at Nonna's.
Carefully and thinly slice two aubergines - either into rings or cut in half and then slice each half lengthways, it doesn't affect the taste! Lightly fry these slices in olive oil, you'll need to do this in several batches and will need a reasonable amount of oil as the aubergines tend to soak up quite a lot. Remove the aubergines once they have a little colour on each side, and let them rest on some kitchen towel. Beat two eggs in a bowl, dip each slice of aubergine in the egg and then fry lightly on each side.
While you are frying off the aubergines, prepare your tomato sauce. We like to keep this nice and light so it doesn't detract too much from the aubergine. Crush two cloves of garlic and gently fry in a small saucepan. Add in one tin of tomatoes and half a tin of water and gently reduce by half, adding in one teaspoon sugar and salt to taste.
Once the tomato sauce is ready, layer up your melanzane; a layer of aubergine and then a layer of tomato. Top with grated Lactofree cheese and a little pecorino then bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C. We serve with salad and garlic bread but it could easily form part of a larger lunch. Can you come up with anything tastier than that?