I love parmigiana, no seriously I LOVE it, but honestly all that aubergine frying takes so long. Sometimes you've got to cheat and this is the best way I've found to lose the time but still create that taste we all love so much. Parmigiana embodies simple flavours at their best, so make sure you use quality ingredients to make this a real show stopper. This is a no fuss dish which is quick to prepare, just pop it in the oven and wait for it bake. It's perfect for a lazy weekend afternoon or even as a late evening snack during these chilly months!
For the tomato sauce
Small bunch of basil, stalks removed and finely chopped
3 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme, or other dried herbs to your taste
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dark mascovado sugar
For the aubergine
2 large aubergines
2 balls of mozzarella, sliced
Breadcrumbs, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 180C fan.
In a pan heat a glug of olive oil over a medium heat. Fry the garlic and chopped basil stalks, cooking for around 20 seconds before adding the sun-dried tomatoes and thyme, cook for a further 20 seconds. Empty the canned tomatoes into the pan, along with the vinegar and sugar. Using one of the empty cans, add half a tin of water to the mixture. Season and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make evenly sliced slits into the flesh of the aubergines. Be careful not to cut all the way through but allow each gap to open generously. Drizzle the aubergines with olive oil and season, making sure you cover the insides. Stuff the gaps with mozzarella and basil leaves.
Sit the aubergines in one large baking dish or two smaller ones. Pour the tomato sauce into the dish and cover with foil. Bake for around an hour, until the aubergine is super soft.
Remove the foil, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan to your taste and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the top is golden. Serve immediately with fresh basil leaves and crusty bread.