Move beyond pasta and enjoy tasty Italian inspired dishes with added vegetables. This recipe is rich in flavour and suitable for vegetarians.
Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan). Place eggplant in a colander. Sprinkle all over with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Drain. Pat dry with paper towel.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until onion has softened. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, basil and 1/2 cup cold water. Stir well. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add enough oil to a large frying pan to cover base. Heat over medium-high heat. Cook eggplant, in batches, adding extra oil to pan when necessary. Drain on paper towel.
Spoon 1/2 cup tomato mixture over base of a 10 cup-capacity ovenproof dish. Arrange one-third eggplant over tomato. Sprinkle with one-third cheese. Continue layering, finishing with cheese. Season. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is golden and melted. Serve sprinkled with basil leaves.
Recipe credited to Taste.com.au