Monday, 14 March 2011

La Parmigiana di Donna Rosa (Authentic Italian Parmigiana Recipe. Very Yummy!)

As a little girl, I used to go out on a Sunday morning. To be absolutely honest, unlike most little girls, I didn't very often go to church, on a Sunday, in fact, at some point I stopped going altogether. Instead, I would play in the gardens outside the church, with my friends.

We would buy sweets and gelato al limone (lemon sorbet) from the man with the ice cream cart. It was so hot, the ice would melt and you had to race the sun, to make sure you got to the iced delight before the sun did. I can still taste the cornet, drenched in lemony juices, and I feel the hot sun, I hear my friends singing and laughing, and I smell the resin, oozing out of the pine tree trunks.

It was a happy time. I just wish I had known it then, but I was just happy to be there and hear the swallows in the sky and the sound of the Church bells telling me it was time to go home.
It was a happy home, ours. My father was a sweet man, very quiet, with the loveliest smile and a lot of stories to tell. I loved him so much and I will never, ever forget the pride with which he looked at me, and the sweet little things he did for me. "It's my birthday today. Look, I shaved, I am all smooth. Do I get a kiss?" he said once.

Well, my mother, on the contrary, wasn't one for kisses and hugs. She was practical, beautiful woman, always looked lovely and, unlike my father, who was blond, she had jet black hair and the loveliest of white smiles!
Should anybody be reading this, they would never believe this was an introduction to my Parmigiana Autentica recipe. How does a Parmigiana recipe fit into my prelude? Well, every Sunday morning, from the time when I was a very little girl, my mother and I had a Parmigiana making ritual.

It was Parmigiana di Melanzane (Aubergine/eggplant Parmigiana) in Winter, and the lighter Summer version, where zucchine (courgettes) were used, instead. I recently discovered you can make Parmigiana using artichokes! I will try that!
My mum was the best cook ever! On a Sunday she would make a delicious meat sauce (ragu` di carne) ... a large amount of it. Some of the sauce, she used for the Parmigiana, and most of it we would have on pasta. 

I helped, standing on a chair first, and then on my own two feet, on the floor, as I grew taller.  I could make Parmigiana by the time I was six. And... she would even let me have a go at making the Ragu` sauce. True!
Anyway... I made Parmigiana, today. I like to make a very light tomato, onion and basil sauce, for my Parmigiana. I think it's lighter than a meat sauce and compliments the flavour of the aubergine.

Parmigiana is a kind of vegetable lasagna, where layers of aubergine, dipped in flour, then beaten egg and then fried in oil, are layered, just how you would layer lasagna, with sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. The whole thing is then baked and served in wedges, with salad and crusty bread. It's so yummy!

This is what any Italian would call a traditional, real Parmigiana as people in Italy would make. It also tastes good if you include mortadella or ham, as an ingredient, in each layer. I LOVE mortadella!

La Parmigiana di Donna Rosa
(Authentic Italian Parmigiana.)

For the sauce:
A few glugs of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
750 mls passata
fresh basil
 Grated Parmesan cheese
(as much as you like!)

Next, for the aubergines

2 aubergines (eggplant) sliced lenghtways,(1/2 cm thick) skin on 
plain flour
salt pepper
4 eggs, beaten
more Parmesan
a small bunch of chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
oil, for frying
3 fresh Italian mozzarelle

In a pan, heat the olive oil. When piping hot, add your onion, chopped. When the onion turns golden, add your passata, cook for about 20-25 minutes, with a lid on, medium to low heat. Add a lot of fresh basil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Easy!
Next, put the flour, salt and pepper in a bag, followed by the aubergine slices, shake until the slices are coated, then, two slices at a time, dip in the egg ( which you would have previously placed into a bowl, beaten and flavoured with Parmesan, salt, pepper and chopped parsley.) as aubergine now need to be coated in egg.

In a frying pan, heat some oil and when really hot, fry the coated aubergine slices until golden, place onto kitchen paper (this will absorb most of the oil) and carry on until every slice is cooked.
Next, place a small amount of the tomato sauce in a baking dish, then form your firsts layer of aubergines, mozzarella, Parmesan, salt and pepper and some basil. More sauce over the top of this and carry on making layers until you have used all the ingredients. You should finish with a layer of tomato sauce and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan. 

Cook in a hot oven (220C/420F/gas7) until bubbling and golden ( it's quite likely to look a little burnt in places, but that's how it's meant to look!)

This is how you make authentic Italian Parmigiana and it truly is DELICIOUS! Just like my Mamma used to make!


  1. The photographs are great and it looks fantastic.

  2. Lovely ! Will try this once ! :)