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Melanzane Pasta Bake

Thursday, 28 September 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Oh Mary Berry, how I love thee, what a fabulous woman and amazing cook she is. I only just discovered this lovely lady about 6 months ago and now I am totally hooked on her youtube videos. It's not just that she is such a great presenter, this woman can really cook. She has something for every occasion and makes it all look very simple. I have so many of her recipes saved in favourites, that it may take my ages to get to cook them all. Todays recipe is the first one.

We, as a family, have always loved the flavours of Melanzane and for years we bought, on special occasions, Focaccia Di Melanzane (a closed pizza) from our local Italian Restaurant, Mama's. Unfortunately that wonderful restaurant has closed its doors, and we miss it on occasions such as birthdays when we would order our fix of Melanzane.

Well, we won't miss it anymore, because of this fabulous dish, it's all wonderful Melanzane flavour, with the extra love of pasta in the form of old fashioned lasagna sheets layered with the spectacular Melanzane sauce and of course a Parmesan béchamel.

It is a bit of a labour of love, not that it is difficult, you just need some time to put it together. So, my advice is to make it on a weekend, when you have more time to devote to your kitchen, but please, make it, it is so totally divine and simply the best way to eat aubergine. The are four components to this recipe, the tomato and basil sauce, the roasted aubergine slices, the Parmesan béchamel and the soaked lasagna sheets. Each component is easy to do, as I said, it just takes some time to bring it all together.

Ingredients for the Tomato and Basil sauce, clockwise from top left-
500 ml passata, a bunch of fresh basil, chopped (basil is not in season at the moment so I used a good squeeze or two of basil paste) 1 tin of diced tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane and 2 teaspoons of castor sugar

Combine all ingredients for the Tomato and Basil sauce together in a jug, set aside until needed

2 to 3 aubergines, sliced into 5 mm rounds, I ended up using 2 aubergines, salt and pepper, oil of choice (I use Rice Bran Oil for everything) 5 to 7 sheets of dried lasagna (this will depend on the size of your dish)

On a couple of lined oven trays, place the aubergine slices, pour over some oil, grind over some salt and pepper and, using your hands, gently massage oil into aubergine slices

Bake in a 200 C oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning over slices halfway through

Soak the lasagna sheets in hot water (from the kettle, for 10 minutes or until just softened) drain and separate sheets, put aside until needed

For the Béchamel Sauce

50 gram butter
50 gram plain flour
600 ml milk, warmed in the microwave for 2 minutes 
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
100 gram Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste


In a heavy based saucepan, on medium heat, melt butter, sprinkle over flour and using a whisk, cook roux out for a couple of minutes, take saucepan off heat, add the warm milk to the roux, whisking all the time. Put saucepan back on heat, turn heat down to medium-low, keep whisking until mixture has thickened. Add two-thirds of the grated Parmesan cheese, the dijon mustard and salt and pepper and whisk in. Keep on a very low heat, stirring occasionally, until needed.

To Assemble the Melanzane Pasta Bake

Start by spreading one third of the tomato and basil sauce over the base of your casserole dish, mine measures 28 cm square x 6 cm deep

Spoon over one third of the Parmesan béchamel 

Layer over one third of the roasted aubergine slices

Top with another third of tomato and basil sauce and béchamel, then another layer of roasted aubergines. Continue until all ingredients have been used (3 layers in total)Finishing with a the last third of aubergine slices

Top with reserved grated Parmesan

And bake at 200 C for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is

Just the most heartwarming and delicious dish

Yes, it's a bit of a faff, but it is so totally worth it.

What's a dish you make that is a bit of a labour of love?

Have a lovely day


  1. I remember eating at Mama's once, Fiona. My partner at the time took me there when I first came to the city. What a shame it's gone now! Meg

    1. Hi Meg,
      It was a wonderful Italian restaurant, they had a family table where some of the extended family would sit every night, it really gave the restaurant a lovely feel and of course the food was always wonderful. We miss it.

  2. Mary Berry's Chicken Malay Rice is on my Menu Plan for next week. I love aubergine, unfortunately my husband becomes very mournful if I use it, he also dislikes avocados.

    1. I will have to check that recipe out, isn't she lovely, such a stylish woman. Aubergines can be very polarising, can't they?
      Have a lovely day.,

  3. I love to make moussaka which is similar to this dish but with mince too - the aubergines do make it a bit more effort but its so delicious its worth it.

    1. MMM, Moussaka, love it, I used to make it a lot when I was pregnant (light years ago)I couldn't get enough of it. Have a lovely day.