For 6-8 servings you need
A tomato sugo (stew)
2 medium white onions, coarsely chopped
2-3 plump cloves of garlic
20ml canola oil
2 cans chopped tomatoes
30ml tomato paste
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2-3 medium-sized aubergines
You can either go the low calorie route by painting each slice with oil and oven baking them on a baking tray at 180°C for 15-20 minutes
OR you will need
30ml cake flour
3ml ground black pepper
3ml dried oregano
1egg, lightly whisked
Approximately 1cm canola or any neutral vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan
For the rest of the dish you need
1 small chicken breast per person or 2 breast for every 3 servings
Seasoning for the chicken (salt and pepper)
Lightly oiled grill or frying pan
A handful of fresh basil leaves, reserve about 8 leaves and finely slice the rest
200ml finely grated cheese – Parmesan, Pecorino or Strong Cheddar or about 8 slices mozzarella; I like using a mix of equal parts Parmesan & Mozzarella
First get the tomato mix going (you can make this a day ahead if you like)
Heat the oil and add the chopped onions. Lightly sauté them until they appear glassy but not browning, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, add the tomatoes, the tomato paste and the oregano. Allow the mixture to simmer gently for about 20 minutes. The mixture must be thick. Season to taste. I never add sugar to tomato mixtures as I find our tinned tomatoes are good quality and do not require sugar.
While the tomato is simmering prepare the aubergines
Slice the aubergines about 10mm thick, preferable lengthwise
Prepare them by baking as instructed above OR
Place the flour and seasoning in a plastic bag. Add the aubergine slices and shake it well. (This is the best method to lightly flour and vegetables or meat)
Heat the oil in a frying pan.
Dip the individual floured slices in the egg and then place it in the hot oil. Fry for about a minute on each side. Watch the oil temperature to prevent burning.
Place on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
Slice the chicken breasts through horizontally and then flatten them lightly with a mallet. Season the breasts.
Lightly fry them for about 2 minutes on each side, If they are slightly underdone in the middle, don’t stress, they will cook through later! Do not overcook at this stage, you don’t want dry chicken!
Set them aside
Select a shallow ovenproof dish no deeper than 5cm.
Arrange a layer of the aubergine slices on the base
Spoon over a layer of the tomato mixture
Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the tomato
Sprinkle over the basil
Place another layer of tomato over the chicken
Finally sprinkle with the cheese
Bake at 200°C for 20-30 minutes or until golden and bubbling hot.
Sprinkle over a fresh fresh basil leaves when serving.
Serve as is, Italian style, or with a green vegetable
If you like you can add a carb element in the form of baby potatoes or a flat pasta such as tagliatelle