Beppi's Recipes

Beppi Martinelli is the irrepressible Italian father from Nicky’s third novel The Italian Wedding (who also makes an appearance in her upcoming The Villa Girls). Naturally he insisted that some of his recipes be included on her website. It may be that you have an entirely different way of cooking these dishes. Beppi says his way is the best one … just so you know.

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

This is so easy. Why do you even need a recipe? My daughters were helping me with this when they were children. You just make the Napolitano sauce. What do you mean you don’t know how? Cose da pazzi! OK I’ll explain it to you. This is what you will need:

2 aubergines
1 onion
1 jar of tomato passata
2 eggs
plain flour
salt
pepper
basil
lots of grated Parmesan
a little grated mozzarella
olive oil
vegetable oil

This is my way of doing it. The best way, of course. First you cut the aubergines into rounds – not too thick but not too thin. Salt them and leave in a colander for an hour to drain. Then wash off the salt with cold water and pat dry with a clean cloth.

Now make the Napolitano sauce. Chop an onion finely, fry it in olive oil and then pour on the jar of tomato passata. Add basil, a little salt and pepper and then simmer the sauce for 20 minutes. Now your kitchen is smelling wonderful eh?

Next beat two eggs with a little salt and pepper. Dip both sides of each aubergine round in plain flour, then in the beaten egg and shallow fry in vegetable oil until golden brown. Oh, and don’t be mean with the oil. Mannagia chi te muort, you people, always so worried about the oil. Pour it from the bottle properly…don’t just dribble it in.

Layer the fried aubergine in a shallow oven dish – four layers maximum – and cover each layer with some Napolitano sauce and plenty of grated parmigiano. Sprinkle mozzarella on the top and bake for 20 minutes at about 150C.

(Yes, yes I know two aubergines is too much but who can resist tasting a few pieces as they come out of the frying pan?)

Addolorata’s note: Papa, I don’t believe this. No wonder you have high cholesterol.