I thought it was about time I posted a recipe of my own! So I decided to get creative in the kitchen and make Melanzane Parmigana. This is an Italian dish translated literally as ‘Parmesan Aubergine‘. Having this dish at home and out in restaurants has always been a pleasure to eat so I thought I would rise to the challenge and cook it myself… How hard could it be?
2 Large Aubergines
2 Cloves of fresh garlic
1 White onion
4 Fresh medium sized tomatoes
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
5 Leaves of fresh Basil
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
Ground Black Pepper
30g of Grated Parmesan cheese
125g of Mozzarella cheese (optional) sliced and thinly cut
Pierce several holes into the aubergines and put into the grill for 15 minutes on a medium to high heat; turn occasionally.
Whilst the aubergine is in the grill, preheat the oven to 200°C or gas 7.
To make the sauce: cut the garlic and onion into chunks and fry until golden brown.
Chop the fresh tomatoes into chunks and add to the saucepan along with the tomato puree and the tin of tomatoes (cook down till the sauce is of a thick consistency).
Add the fresh basil and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Then transfer the sauce into a blender for a couple of minutes or until smooth.
Layering the Melanzane Parmigiana: Add a thin layer of the sauce to the bottom of the dish.
Cut the aubergine into slices (dispose the stalks) and put a layer into the dish followed by the tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Repeat this method.
On the final layer add the remaining sauce and sprinkle again with parmesan cheese but also add mozzarella for the extra taste (this is optional however, another cheese can also be used for personal preference).
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the aubergines are tender.
This wonderful restaurant is in the perfect location; a minute walk away from Piazza Maggiore in Bologna. Il portico has both outdoor and indoor seating and being such a pleasant evening we sat outside. The restaurant itself had rustic decor and the tables and chairs were presented in the typical Italian way; which makes you fall in love with the authentic display of traditional Italian hospitality.
The food at Il Portico was more than delightful; however the service was not up to standard. The waiter who served us was incredibly arrogant, annoying and somewhat of a racist. He spoke to us as if we were mindless and unintelligent; he demanded to know our ethnic backgrounds and snarled and sniggered at our genuinely honest responses. In addition to this a couple seated a few tables away were pestered by the same gentleman; he found himself humoured by the origin of the lady sitting at the table – the couple were unamused and uncomfortable.
Despite the unpleasant waiter the food was marvellous! We had ordered Vitello al Limone; this came served with a portion of fried potatoes which were light and airy. The meat was tender and the lemon was at the right consistency and complimented the meat and potato wonderfully. Each mouthful was heavenly. I was disappointed when the meal was consumed and wanted more; not due to a small portion but because it tasted so good. We had also ordered Polpette con pomodoro e parmigiano (Meatballs with tomato and parmesan); this was also delightful to taste. There were three generously sized meatballs which were rich in flavour but the tomato that coated the meat settled the richness into perfection.
I would highly recommend Il Portico to consumers, the food, location, appearance of this restaurant are fantastic. Unfortunately the gentleman that served us was not up to the standards that one would expect; hopefully no additional customers shall receive the same unsatisfactory service.