Cut the aubergines lengthways into 1cm slices. Finely chop the onions. Finely grate the Parmesan cheese. Whizz the ciabatta into crumbs. Drain the buffalo mozzarella and tear into pieces. Peel and finely slice the garlic cloves.
- 1 Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5 (170°C for fan ovens).
- 2 If your aubergines have seeds (which can taste bitter) remove them, then place the slices in a single layer on a tray, sprinkle liberally with salt and set aside.
- 3 Meanwhile, heat one-quarter of the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, garlic and chilli and cook gently for 8-10 minutes.
- 4 Add the passata, tomatoes, water, oregano and sugar, then bring to the boil. Season well, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes while you move on to the next steps.
- 5 Use kitchen towel to absorb moisture from the aubergines and brush off any salt.
- 6 Lightly brush both sides of the aubergine slices with around 80 percent of the remaining oil.
- 7 Heat a large frying or griddle pan until hot. Fry the slices over a medium-to-high heat for 3-4 minutes (this can be done in batches, but make sure to follow the next step before starting the second batch).
- 8 Turn and cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until tender. Remove and set aside.
- 9 Check the seasoning of the tomato sauce.
- 10 Lightly oil an ovenproof baking dish.
- 11 Spread a quarter of the sauce over the base of the dish, add a layer of aubergine slices, scatter with a quarter of the Parmesan.
- 12 Repeat the layering, finishing with the tomato sauce.
- 13 Toss the remaining Parmesan with the breadcrumbs and reserved olive oil, then scatter on top.
- 14 Dot with mozzarella and season with black pepper.
- 15 Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbling around the edges.
- 16 Stand for 5 minutes before serving.
- Average per serving
- Calories 340.0kCal