Eggplant parmigiana

This is a crowd-pleasing dish you’ll want to serve again and again. The baked eggplant parmigiana is great served with pasta shells or can be frozen to enjoy later.


Serves 8

  • 1 medium brown onion (150g), chopped finely
  • 2 trimmed celery sticks (150g), chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 cups tomato paste (750g)
  • 2 litres of water (8 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Olive oil, for shallow-trying
  • 2 large eggplants (1kg), sliced thickly
  • 3/4 cup packaged breadcrumbs (75g)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (40g)
  • 1 kg shell or any short pasta


  1. Heat a large heavy-based saucepan; cook onion and celery, stirring, until onion is soft. Add brandy and parsley; cook until most of the brandy evaporates. Stir in pasta, water and sugar; simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/4 hours or until sauce thickens slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan; shallow-fry eggplant, in batches, until browned on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper.
  3. Preheat the oven to moderate. Place one-third of the eggplant, in a single layer, in a shallow 3-litre (12-cup) ovenproof dish; pour one-third of the tomato sauce over the eggplant, sprinkle with half of the breadcrumbs and half of the cheese. Repeat the layering process, finishing with eggplant and tomato sauce.
  4. Bake eggplant parmigiana, uncovered, in the oven for about 40 minutes or until almost set.
  5. Just before serving, cook pasta in a large pan of boiling water, uncovered, until just tender; drain. Serve eggplant parmigiana over pasta.

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