As I was cooking this, I was calling it a 'melansagne' but it was just too silly to put up as my post title, so here instead is my 'aubergine bake'!
I am not much one for following recipes always and often I tend to make up dishes with what I have around the kitchen. Today's ingredients were what was left before an online grocery shop arrives tomorrow, so I had a few things left to use up including a large packet of lean beef mince, an aubergine and a couple of courgettes. I wanted to make something slightly less heavy than a lasagne, so I came up with this hybrid of a lasagne and one of my favourite Italian dishes, melanzane alla parmagiana. Authentic Italian cooks please look away now!
To make this I prepared my veg in advance, thinly slicing my aubergine and courgettes longways, then sprinkled the slices with salt and left them to drain in a colander for a couple of hours.
I made the sauce by frying 2 garlic cloves and 3 onions, thinly sliced, in olive oil then adding my mince to brown (500g lean beef mince). I then added a tin of tomatoes and some tomato puree, and I would add a dash of red wine now if I'd had any! I added rosemary, thyme and oregano to my sauce and allowed it to simmer while I fried my aubergine and courgette.
I rinsed the salt off my aubergine and courgettes, dried them with kitchen paper, and I then fried the slices in batches in a hot pan with olive oil. I like to fry them until soft and a little browned for flavour.
When all was ready, I layered my veg and sauce in an ovenproof dish. First a layer of the sauce, then a layer of sliced veg, and repeat until it's all layered up. I also added in the middle a layer of fresh basil leaves. On the top I sprinked a mixture of grated cheeses to cover the surface. The small pieces of cheese I had left were mature cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan, and all together were just enough to top the dish.
The dish was then baked in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 30 minutes. I ate mine on its own, my husband had his with pasta on the side and our toddler's was chopped up a bit and served on pasta as a sauce. It was really flavoursome and a good midweek meal for the family.
I like dreaming up meals from odds and ends we have left in the fridge! do you?