Do you want to leave your guests speechless?

Why not try Grandma Lenas’s Parmigiana (Melanzane di nonna Lena)?


Grandma Lena’s Parmigiana. 

Meal preparation time: 3 hours

Cooking time: 15/20 minutes

Total: 3 hours and 15/20 minutes

Ingredients for 4 people: 4 or 5 aubergines, plain  flour 700g to be on the safe side.

4/6 eggs, salt, 3/4 mozzarella balls, sunflower-seed oil, parmesan cheese, buy @ least 250g.

 Sauce ingredients: 2 bottles of tomato passata, I recommend the organic Sainsbury passata, 1 medium size red onion, olive oil, 2 leaves of basil. Prepare the sauce before you start frying the aubergines.

Sauce: Place some olive oil in a pot and add the finely chopped onion, keep it on fire until the onion goes golden, then add the tomato sauce. Stir and salt according to your taste and add some basil. Make it cook for at least 20 minutes @ low flame.


 Peel the aubergines and cut them into regular slices (not too fine, nor too thick). Preserve them in salt for about 2 hours in order to remove the bitterness.

  1. Wash and dry them with a clean cloth.
  2. Put eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt and beat them gently.
  3. Place some flour in a bowl and spread some sunflower-seed oil in a saucepan. Leave it over a high flame until it is hot.
  4. Flour the slices of aubergines, then put them in the egg mixture and fry them.
  5. Spread some tomato sauce in a pyrex and lay the first layer of fried aubergines. Add tomato sauce, mozzarella slices and parmisan.
  6. Repeat the procedure until the last layer of aubergines and cover it well with tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmisan. Cook it in the oven for about 15/20 minutes @180 degrees and switch it off when the mozzarella has melt and  become golden brown.

Buon Appetito!

Pasta with  fresh Pachino sauce by Dad Vincenzo

Meal preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15/20 minutes

Total time: 20/25 minutes

 Serves 4 people

Ingredients: olive oil, half onion – thinly sliced, salt, basil, unsalted butter, 400 gr of pachino tomatoes.

  1. Slice tomatoes.
  2. Spread some olive oil in a saucepan, add the sliced onion and cook until golden brown.
  3. Add a spoon of white wine, pachino tomatoes, salt and 3 or 4 leaves of basil. Cook for 15/20 minutes mixing once in a while.
  4. In the meantime, put water in a pot, wait until it boils, then add salt and start cooking pasta (rigatoni or penne). Ensure the pasta it is still fairly firm and then drain it.
  5.  Dress it with the Pachino sauce, sprinkle it with parmesan while the stove is still on and mix.
  6. Add a tea-spoon of unsalted butter and mix. When the parmisan has melt, switch off the stove.

Serve it on dishes, sprinkle additional parmesan and place a leave of basil on the top for decoration!


Grandma Lena’s Lasagne

“The word lasagna, which originally applied to a cooking pot, now simply describes the food itself”. by wikipedia

How to make the dough:

Ingredients: 400g. of plain or 00 flour, half tea spoon of salt, 4 large eggs (room temperature)

Serves 4 people

Sift the flour if plain into a large bowl or onto a clean surface and make a well in the centre (do not sift the 00 flour). Add the eggs one at the time and salt. Mix the eggs and the flour by using a fork first and then your hands. When the eggs have been absorbed by the flour knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth, firm and soft. Wrap it in cling film and leave to rest for half an hour (during this time, the tomato sauce and the Béchamel can be made). When ready roll the dough with a rolling pin in order to achieve a thickness of half millimeter. Once rolled you can now cut the dough into rectangular sheets of around 20×14 cm.

How to make béchamel sauce

Ingredients: 150g of butter, 100g of flour, 1 litre of milk, nutmeg (optional), a pinch of salt

Choose a capacious pot. Slowly melt the butter @ medium gas and always stirring add the flour little by little once the butter is all melted. Keep on stirring otherwise your sauce will be full of lumps.

Then, slowly add the milk. Keep on stirring until you achieve a medium dense béchamel sauce. You can add two or more pinches of nutmeg if you like. Do not cook béchamel too thick otherwise it will get very hard once cold and almost impossible to spread on lasagne.

Your béchamel is now done continue and make a delicious ragù sauce known in UK and US as Bolognese sauce.

How to make the ragù sauce:

1 finely chopped carrot, 1 finely chopped onion , 1 stick of celery finely chopped , 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 300gr of lean minced beef, 2 bottles of tomato passata or cut plum tomatoes, salt according to your taste, 100g of parmesan cheese.

Fry over low heat the carrot, onion and celery with the extra virgin olive oil until softened. Before it begins to brown, add the minced beef and mix well, using a fork to distribute the meat thoroughly among the ingredients, to avoid creating meatballs. Add the tomato passata or chopped tomatoes. Mix it all well and lower the gas to minimum heat. Once in a while, as the liquid cooks away, add a little of water and continue like this for half an hour.

Onto a oven tray put the ragù sauce at the bottom to avoid the lasagne to burn, then cover with the fresh lasagne sheets by adapting the cuttings to the shape of the tray. At this stage spread the béchamel sauce on top, spread enough ragù sauce on the béchamel and sprinkle some parmesan all around. Proceed with the other layer until you have reached four of them following the same procedure. Now put in the oven for one hour at 160 degrees. Once done, please remember to make them rest for 15 minutes before serving as the lasagna will become more compact and can be easily cut in this way.

Buon appetito!

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