Aubergine Parmigiana

This is winter comfort food! A really nice dish to serve for a lunch with friends, you can leave it in the oven cooking nicely – leaving your kitchen smelling delicious and you free to chat 🙂 (my favourite pastime!) I would normally serve this with fresh warm bread and a lightly dressed crunchy salad…………..

Ingredients
3 x large aubergines
2 x 400g tinned plum tomatoes
1 – 2  x tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 x red onion – finely chopped
3 x fat garlic cloves – grated
1 – 2 tsp dried oregano
1 x tsp red wine vinegar
1 x tsp tomato puree
1 x tbsp tomato ketchup or sugar
a handful of fresh basil leaves (save some torn leaves for garnish)
sea salt
black pepper

Cashew topping
150g cashews
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 x tsp sea salt
4 x tbsp nutritional yeast

Method
Chop the aubergines into 1cm slices – lay the slices into a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt to draw out any bitterness and leave for 15 mins.
While waiting, make your cashew topping. Put all ingredients in a small food processor and blitz until a coarse powder – set aside.
After 15 mins rinse the aubergine slices with water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Heat a frying pan to a medium heat and brush each aubergine slice on both sides with a little olive oil. In batches, gently fry the aubergine slices on both sides until just golden brown. (It’s worth the faff – trust me!)
Set the aubergine aside and now it’s time to make the tomato sauce.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add in the finely chopped red onion, stir and then grate in the garlic.
Cook the onion until soft and then add in the tins of plum tomatoes (as in my other recipes – use a wooden spoon to mash and squash the tomatoes to a pulp). Now add-in the tomato puree, tomato ketchup, oregano, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. (PRE-HEAT YOUR OVEN NOW TO 180 DEGREES)
Let the sauce cook gently for about 20-25 minutes and let it thicken a little, then add in the basil leaves and stir through. (test the sauce and adjust salt & pepper as necessary).
Get a deep baking dish and spread a little of the tomato sauce on the bottom and then layer the aubergine slices on top. Then add a layer of tomato sauce and a layer of aubergine and repeat until all is used up (make sure the last layer is tomato sauce)
Now sprinkle over the cashew topping and pop in the oven for about 34-40 minutes until the aubergine is cooked but still has a bit of bite.
Remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 mins – sprinkle over some chopped basil leaves – serve!

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