Recipe: Eggplant Lasagne

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This is one of my favourite dishes to cook for dinner parties because it’s easy to make and there’s lots to go ‘round. The flavour of the pork ribs cooked down into the tomato sauce makes this especially delicious.

INGREDIENTS
2 eggplants, sliced to 1cm thick rounds 1 tbsp olive oil
2 brown onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
500g pork spare ribs
2 cans crushed tomatoes

2 cups chicken stock
1L passata
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped 1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp butter

½ cup flour
3 cups milk
1 cup cheddar, grated
1 cup Parmesan, grated ½ cup mozzarella, grated 12 lasagna sheets

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Spread the eggplant slices on a greased tray and season. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, turn over and roast for another 5 minutes. Set aside.

3. FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE: In a large saucepan, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the pork ribs and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, passata, oregano, basil, fennel and chicken stock. Season to taste and simmer for 1 hour.

4. FOR THE BÉCHAMEL: in a small saucepan, melt butter and mix in flour until completely combined and there are no lumps. Turn the heat to very low and had the milk a little at a time, making sure the mixture absorbs it and there are no lumps (you can use a whisk to make this easier). Add the cheddar and Parmesan and stir until cheese is melted into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and thin out with a little water if necessary.

5. TO ASSEMBLE THE LASAGNE: spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce over the base of a large tray. Place a layer of pasta sheets on the bottom. Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce, then a layer of the baked eggplant rounds, another thin layer of the tomato sauce and then a layer of the béchamel sauce. Sprinkle a small amount of the mozzarella on the béchamel layer. Repeat this process one more time and on the last layer, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top.

6. Bake the lasagne in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is golden and the pasta is cooked through. Serve the lasagne with vegetables or a salad and enjoy!

TIP: This lasagne goes really well served with steamed green beans dressed in butter and vinegar.

Lauren Bruce

Lauren started her writing career as a communications adviser before she realised she couldn’t ignore her passion for food and the arts any longer. She gave up the world of state politics to concentrate on freelance writing and styling. She has since contributed to Spook, Paper Sea and Junkee and is a regular contributor to GRAM Magazine.