- 3 large brinjals
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 T olive oil, plus extra for frying
- 360 g tomato passata
- 1½ T sugar
- flour, for dusting
- 30 g fresh basil, torn
- 300 g mozzarella, cut into 2 cm slices
- 150 g Grana Padano shavings
- 2 T butter
Trim the brinjals and peel lengthways leaving on alternate strips of skin. Cut into 1 cm rounds and salt lightly. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
Lightly fry the garlic in the olive oil in a small saucepan, then add the tomato passata and sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, over a low heat for a few minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Rinse the brinjals and pat dry using kitchen paper, then lightly dust both sides with flour. Fry in the oil over a medium heat until golden on both sides, then drain on kitchen paper.
Spread a thin layer of the tomato mixture into a 25 cm ovenproof dish, then add a layer of brinjals, half the basil, and a third of the mozzarella and Grana Padano. Season to taste. Repeat and finish with a layer of tomato and cheese. Season and dot with butter, then bake for 30 minutes.
Cook's note: Laden with olive oil and cheese, this is not a diet option. You could use fi or di latte and Parmigiana Reggiano if you're feeling flush, but for this recipe, I went basic. And it tasted just fine.