Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: +- 45 minutes
Serves: 4
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Roll on aubergine recipe number 2! To see my previous aubergine themed recipe, click here. I will be posting one more soon.

So, this recipe right here is unapologetically simple, calorific and crazy delicious. Somewhat inspired by the classic,  Melanzane Parmigiana and my mom’s humble Brinjal Bake (that she made every week in the 90’s). My mom cooks her chunks of aubergine with canned tomato and onion mix, tomato paste, lots of sugar, garlic and dried mixed herbs. The mixture is spooned into a Pyrex dish and topped with a mountain of grated orange cheddar cheese or Gouda before baking until the cheese is gooey and melted. So comforting, so good.

So this is my version, a hybrid of the two dishes.
The way I prepare the aubergine prevents that squidgy mouthfeel most people don’t like. This is a good dish to convert a non aubergine lover into a full blown fan. Because it literally tastes like lasagne and pizza had a baby.  Without the meat and pizza dough, but all the cheese! Just saying.


Cheesy Aubergine Bake

Ingredients
2 large aubergines, diced
Freshly ground salt and black pepper
Olive oil

Tomato Sauce:
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp (15 ml) dried oregano
1 Tbsp (15 ml) dried Italian Herbs
400 g (1 tin) chopped tomatoes
50 g tomato paste
250 ml vegetable stock
honey, agave or sugar to taste (optional)
handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
+- 60 ml cream
1 c (250 ml) grated mature cheddar cheese

1 c (250 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
extra basil leaves

Method
Preheat oven to 220°C.
Arrange diced aubergine onto a large baking paper lined roasting tray.
Drizzle with lots of olive oil and season well. Make sure the aubergine is well coated in olive oil and roast for +- 20 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
Sauté the onion, garlic and herbs in a splash of olive oil until softened and fragrant.
Add the tinned tomato, paste and stock and simmer uncovered for +- 20 minutes or until reduced. Season with sweetener of your choice to taste.
Stir in the roasted aubergines and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, followed by the cheddar cheese. Season to taste.
Decant into a medium baking dish. Top with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for +- 20 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the sauce in bubbling.
Serve immediately with fresh basil.
Enjoy as a meat free meal with dressed rocket and baby spinach or as a tasty side dish to braaied, grilled or roasted lamb, beef or chicken.
Enjoy!


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