From the garden: eggplant

With its beautiful glossy purple skin, the elegant eggplant has served us well this summer and is nearing the end of its season. This dish is perfect for cooler evenings. Every Italian home has its own variation of this classic dish, but this is ours in Montecalvi.

Eggplant Parmigiana

Serves 6 people

3 medium-sized eggplants, cut into 7mm slices
2 cloves of garlic
Montecalvi extra virgin olive oil (about 4 tablespoons)
5 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped / or you can use a 400g can
A handful of basil leaves
300 g buffalo mozzarella cheese cut into slices
50 g freshly grated parmesan cheese

Slice the eggplant, place in a colander sprinkled with salt and leave for about half an hour to drain off the bitter juices.

Preheat the oven to 180°C˚.

Begin preparing the tomato sauce by heating 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a deep frying pan. Add the garlic and as soon as it starts to brown slightly, remove it and add the tomatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes have blended into a sauce. Just before it is ready, add the torn basil leaves. Set aside.

Dry the eggplant slices with kitchen paper and arrange them on baking sheets, brushing each side generously with Montecalvi extra virgin olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Taking a square or rectangular baking dish, start layering the parmigiana as follows: tomato sauce/eggplant/mozzarella and repeat until it almost reaches the top of the dish, then top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread.

Eggplant parmesan pairs perfectly with Sangiovese and we particularly like it with our 2019 Chianti Classico.