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Aubergine “lasagna” with pancetta, rocket and baby bufala mozzarella

January 10, 2013

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I’ve been longing for a nice Lasagna for such a long time now, but as I’m trying to keep off the carbs at the moment, I decided to switch the lasagna sheets for aubergine instead. It was sooooo nice! It was something in between a Parmigiana di melanze (which is one of my favourite dishes) and a traditional lasagna with more body thanks to the pancetta. I served it in individual Le Creuset dishes with a green salad, it was delicious!

This is what you need; (one lasagna for 4 persons)

400 g of minced beef
200 g of sliced pancetta
5 aubergines
2 yellow onions
1 celery branch
1 carrot
2 big garlic cloves
2 jars of good quality crushed cherry tomatoes
A touch of curry
2 table spoons of honey
1 laurel leaf
A handful of rocket lettuce
Baby bufala mozzarella
Sea salt and a very generous amount of crushed white pepper

Here’s how you do it;

1. Start with slicing the aubergine with a mandolin. (Or by hand if you don’t have one) On a tray, put some baking paper, then the sliced aubergines and salt them and let them rest. Salting, also known as “purging” takes out juices that carry bitter flavors and at the same time extract any excess liquid letting the aubergine keep it’s nice texture. After a few minutes you can see the produced liquid on the aubergines. Wipe the liquid off and then drizzle some olive oil, add salt and pepper and then roast them in the oven at 170 degrees for about 5 min. Take the tray out and leave aside.

2. Chop the onion, garlic, celery and carrot finely.
3. In a large pan, fry the ingredients above in a good amount of olive oil. After a few minutes add the curry and some salt and white pepper. Leave aside.
4. Fry the minced beef and pancetta on high heat so it gets a nice colour.

5. When the beef and pancetta is browned, add the fried vegetables and pour the two jars of crushed cherry tomatoes, the laurel leaf, the honey and let it simmer on low heat for about an hour. Taste it and add salt and white crushed pepper. I love a prominent white pepper flavour in italian tomato dishes as it gives it a nice heat, so I use loads!

6. In a dish, add one layer of sauce, then one layer of aubergine. Sprinkle some baby mozzarella, and then layer with the sauce and aubergine and mozarella again. You should at least get 3 layers.

7. Bake in the oven for about 30 min on 170 degrees. Add some extra baby mozarellas and rocket lettuce on the top. Buon appetito!

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