I I love Parmigiana di Melanzane for its layers of sweet and sour tomato sauce, grilled eggplants that stand to collapse, and generous amounts of oozing, stringy cheese. However, it can feel a little rich to have it all to yourself and decided too much work for a midweek side dish. While you can easily get around this by serving it with a delicious salad, I love when spinach and Swiss chard burst out of the ground, but I love to wither them in some oil and add layers to that calming dish To bestow kindness.
Eggplant parmigiana with spinach and ricotta
This is where it makes a difference to cook the late summer tomatoes for as long as possible. You will need a medium-sized baking dish.
preparation 20 minutes
Cook 1 hour 30 minutes
for the sauce
900g ripe tomatoes (or use preserved)
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
4 cloves of garlic, peeled off
3 tbsp good olive oil
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar, or to taste
1 large bunch basil, Leaves picked
For the filling
500g large spinach (or Swiss chard), washed (with Swiss chard, strip the leaves from the thick stalks and save the stalks for a gratin, soup, omelette or pan)
Extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon nutmeg
75g parmesan, Finely grated
salt and pepper
3 large Eggplant
Shake the spinach or Swiss chard off excess water. Heat a large pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the leaves and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until most of them have collapsed. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the ricotta, nutmeg and two thirds of the Parmesan, season well and set aside.
Now prepare the sauce. Puree the tomatoes, onions and garlic in a food processor for one minute. Pour three tablespoons of oil into the same pan you wilted the leaves in and set over medium heat. Add the pureed tomato mixture, cook over high heat for a few minutes, then reduce the heat. Stir in sugar, season vigorously and simmer gently for at least 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, the longer the better. After the sauce has boiled for 10 minutes, chop up all but a handful of basil leaves and stir in; Save the remaining whole leaves for garnish.
In the meantime, heat a grill to the highest setting (or use a hot grill pan). Cut the eggplant lengthways into slices about 5 mm thick; Don’t worry if they are not uniform because the slices will be covered in the silky tomato sauce later. Brush both sides with olive oil and grill or grill for five to six minutes per side, until well browned and razor-sharp – raw, light-colored eggplants are never good!
Preheat the oven to 190 ° C (convection 170 ° C) / 375F / gas. 5. Season the tomato sauce to taste and season with salt, pepper and sugar as required. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a medium-sized casserole dish and top it first with a layer of the eggplant slices and then a layer of the spinach and ricotta mixture. Grate a quarter of the mozzarella over the spinach layer, season lightly, then repeat with one or two additional layers depending on the size of the dish. Top with a final layer of tomato sauce. Scatter the last mozzarella, parmesan and the basil leaves that have been set aside, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Remove and let rest for five to ten minutes before serving.
And for the rest of the week …
Make masses out of the tomato sauce, while home grown tomatoes are so good, and pour them in for the winter (or freeze them in small quantities). If you are using Swiss chard, put the blanched stems in omelets or frittatas.