Before I always used mozzarella cheese, but lately I use provolone and I love the result. As for the cheese to be used, I recommend not using the cheapest or the most expensive. If you use authentic Parmigiano Reggiano the cost of your recipe will increase dramatically.
Cheap brands of grated cheese aren’t too bad, but they don’t taste the same as real cheese. Luckily there are imitations that are not from Italy, they are quite good and cost almost half that of Italian cheeses with designation of origin. These are the ones I use.
My recommendation is to make the sauce first and in what is being done prepare the aubergines. If you are going to use cheeses that are not scratched, grate them before you start cooking so that you have your mise en place ready once you go to mount the parmigiana.
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 onion, minced
4 cloves of garlic
3 cups tomato puree (1 large can)
1 tablespoon of oregano
8 oz parmesan, pecorino, or similar cheese, shredded
8 oz provolone or mozzarella (or a mixture of both) cut into chunks
5 medium aubergines (about 2 1/2 pounds) sliced lengthwise
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil and sauté the onions until they are colored. Add the garlic and sauté for a while longer. Be careful not to burn it.
Add the tomato puree, water, and oregano. Cook until it starts to bubble and lower the heat to medium low. Cook for about half an hour, until the sauce has thickened a bit. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When the tomato sauce is over medium low heat, start cooking the aubergines. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and add olive oil.
Cook the eggplants in batches until golden on both sides. Make sure to salt each slice of eggplant.
Keep the aubergines aside until you begin to assemble the final preparation.
Once the sauce is ready and the aubergines are all cooked you can preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
Dip the bottom of a large rectangular baking dish with olive oil. Put a layer of aubergines that covers the entire bottom.
Put enough tomato sauce to cover all the eggplants.
Cover the tomato sauce layer with a layer of cheese.
Continue adding another layer of eggplant, then one of sauce and one of cheese. Keep doing this until you have used all the ingredients. Make sure to finish with a layer of cheeses. With the mold that I use, this amount of ingredients gives me 3 layers.
Put in the oven for about 45 minutes. Make sure the cheese is gratin. Once you remove it from the oven, wait between 15 and 20 minutes to cut. If you were smart, you will still have at least one glass of wine to enjoy with this delicacy
Víctor Hanzlík Valentín is the creator of the blog El Gourmet Pelao. To see your recipes go to your website The Gourmet Pelao and on Instagram