Parmigiana is a Norther Italian classic. It's traditionally made with fried aubergine but we're using courgettes here for a lighter taste. It takes a little while to assemble but we're sure you'll think it's time well spent when you taste the results!
Hard Cheese (Italian Style)(ContainsMilk)
Preheat your oven to 220°C. Halve, peel and chop the red onion into small pieces. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Remove the top and bottom from the courgette, then slice lengthways into ½cm strips. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half. Pick the basil leaves from their stalks (discard the stalks). Cut three-quarters of the mozzarella cheese into thin slices. Pat the slices with some kitchen paper to soak up as much moisture as possible.
Put a splash of oil in a frying pan on medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic. Fry, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 mins. Add the tomato passata and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture simmer for 5 mins, then remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, heat a splash of oil in another frying pan on high heat. Once hot, fry the courgette strips in batches. Cook them for 1 minute on each side, then set aside. TIP: Don't overcrowd the pan as this will stew the courgette rather than brown it nicely.
Put a third of the passata in an ovenproof dish and spread it out to cover the bottom. Top this with a layer of courgette (use roughly half your courgette here as you’re going to repeat this step). Next layer on half the sliced mozzarella. Tear over a third of your basil leaves and add half the pine nuts.
Spread on another layer of passata, followed by the remaining courgette, sliced mozzarella and pine nuts. Tear on another third of the basil. Finish with a final layer of passata and top your parmigiana with the hard Italian cheese and panko breadcrumbs. Pop on the top shelf of your oven and. Bake for 15 mins. Slice the ciabatta in half and drizzle a dash of oil on top. When the parmigiana has 5 mins left to cook, warm the ciabatta in the oven on a baking tray.
Tear up the remaining basil and mozzarella. Put in a mixing bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Add a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. When the parmigiana is ready, serve generous portions with the salad and ciabatta on the side. Enjoy!