This simple vegeterian meal is made with sliced aubergine, a deliciously flavourful tomato sauce and a simple thick and creamy cheese sauce. It's oozy, gooey and perfect for serving up at dinnertime - and it's really rather good for you, too!
- 3 large aubergines
- 2 onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 small carrot
- 400g passata
- 1 tbsp. tomato puree
- 1 tsp. each butter and oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp. each dried basil and dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp. butter + 1 1/2 tbsp. flour
- 400ml warm milk
- 50g grated cheddar cheese
- 4 tbsp. breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp. grated parmesan
Thinly slice the aubergines and sprinkle with 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Place into a colander over a sink and leave for half an hour.
Meanwhile, finely dice the onions, celery, carrot and garlic cloves. Heat oil and butter in a heavy saucepan and fry the onions, celery and carrot for 10-15 minutes until golden and softened. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute, then add the tomato puree and fry for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the passata, add the basil and oregano and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp. butter in a saucepan until melted. Add in the flour and stir until combined. Cook for 1-2 minutes over a medium heat. Gradually add the milk, little by little, stirring constantly until you have a smooth, creamy sauce. Add the cheddar and stir until melted. Combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan and set to one sde.
Rinse the aubergines. Grill them on either side for 2-4 minutes using a griddle pan over a medium heat. Preheat oven to 180C.
Spread 1/3 of the tomato mixture on the bottom of a baking dish. Top with 1/3 of the aubergines and 1/3 of the cheese sauce. Repeat, finishing on a layer of cheese sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbling. Uncover and sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for another 5 minutes until golden on top.