Remove the stalks from the aubergines, slice them up into 1 cm thick slices, and place in a roasting try. Sprinkle with salt and allow to stand for fifteen minutes.
Drain, rinse well and pat dry.
Heat a frying pan or griddle pan, add the oil and fry the aubergines on both sides until golden. Place on paper towel to remove excess oil.
Heat the oil and the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions, garlic, leek, celery and carrot and without colouring, fry until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste and bring to the boil.
Correct the seasoning by adding salt, pepper and sugar if the tomatoes are a little tart.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and there is a good aroma coming off the pot.
Using a liquidizer or a hand held blender, puree the sauce until smooth. Add the herbs if using and correct the seasoning.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the flour. Whisk in the milk and continue whisking till smooth and thick.
Cook over low heat for a few minutes to cook out the flour. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese. Once the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
In a baking dish, put in a small layer of tomato sauce, then a thin scattering of Parmesan cheese, followed by a single layer of aubergines and then a layer of white sauce.
Repeat these layers until you’ve used all the ingredients up, finishing with a little sauce and another good sprinkling of Parmesan.
Place the dish in a preheated oven at 180°C and bake for half an hour until golden, crisp and bubbly.Recipe reprinted with permission of PomegranateDays. To see more recipes, click here.