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Italian roast lamb with aubergine parmigiana

Made at Daphne's | Serves 6

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2kg approx. leg of lamb
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
75g pancetta
1 large onion, cut into slices
125ml olive oil
350ml white wine
2 rosemary sprigs
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the aubergine parmigiana
1.5kg aubergine
250ml olive oil
Plain flour for dusting
500ml tomato passata
1 small bunch of basil
250g mozzarella, grated
90g Parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste

To prepare the roast lamb, pre-heat the oven to 230°C / 450°F / gas mark 8. Chop up the rosemary, garlic and pancetta until fine and paste like, then season with a little salt and pepper. With the point of a sharp knife, make incisions about 1 cm deep all over the lamb. Rub the rosemary, garlic and pancetta paste over the surface of the lamb pressing it into the incisions.

Put the onion slices in the centre of a roasting tin, place the lamb on top and pour over the olive oil, then roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C / 350°F / gas mark 4 and pour over 250ml of wine. Roast the lamb for 1 hour for medium rare or longer if you would like the lamb cooked through. Baste a couple of times during cooking, adding a little water from time to time to ensure the lamb doesn’t dry out. Once cooked, transfer the lamb onto a carving plate and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Discard the onion from the roasting tray and spoon off any excess fat. Place the fat over the heat, adding the remaining wine and cook for 3-4 minutes until it thickens.

Whilst the lamb is cooking prepare and cook the aubergine parmigiana. Thinly slice the aubergines lengthways, layer the slices in a large colander and sprinkle salt between each layer. Leave for 30 minutes to extract the bitter juices, rinse and pat dry on a paper towel. Dust the aubergine slices with flour and shallow fry in the olive oil, once golden on both sides, remove and leave to drain on kitchen paper.

Build the aubergine parmigiana by laying slices of the cooked aubergine in the bottom of the shallow casserole dish. Add a spoonful of the tomato passata, then some of the grated mozzarella and Parmesan, before adding a sprinkle of chopped basil and pepper. Repeat the same process with more slices of aubergine. Add a final spoonful of the tomato passata on top and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

Bake the aubergine parmigiana for 30 minutes in the same oven as the lamb, then remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Slice the lamb and pour over the lamb juices, serve with aubergine parmigiana on the side.

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