Melanzane di Nonna Pina alla Parmigiana

Styling: Anita Parise 
Blog: Anita Parise 
Photography: Anita Parise 
Recipe & Inspiration: When it’s cold outside! – comforting, heart warming recipes

Creating this recipe pulled at my heart strings. It was the first recipe that I have made of my nonna Pina’s since her passing earlier this year. Although it was emotional, I could feel my nonna’s presence and could almost hear her explaining each step of the method to me (or telling me what I was not doing correctly, which was often the case). It reminded me of many wonderful family memories and dinners that we used to share when we were all together. Without fail, this was one of nonna’s favourite dishes to prepare her family for a Sunday night celebration.  You could almost guarantee that this dish was placed at either end of the table as a contorno to the main meal. Whether you ate it with a piece of pane di casa, on its own, or placed atop of a cotoletta Milanese (seriously so good!), everyone delighted in nonna Pina’s Melanzane alla Parmigiana.

Melanzane all Parmigiana is one of the most cherished dishes of southern Italian cuisine and beloved by all. Now, this is not ‘the’ recipe for melanzane alla parmigiana per se. Traditionally, the melanzane is cut, dipped in egg, floured, deep fried, then layered with rich tomato sugo, Parmigiano cheese and then baked.  And yes, while it IS delicious, it is also quite indulgent and can be a little time consuming. None the less, this version is authentic to me as it is exactly how my nonna prepared it for her grandchildren – which we grew up loving.

I hope you give this dish a crack… it is a super easy, vegetarian alternative to lasagna that can also be served with roasted meats and fish. I’ve also included a bonus recipe… one without the sugo as a different option.

This recipe is bound to give you all the comforting you need clubbers,

Anita, Renee and the GR team


  • 2x large eggplants, washed and ends trimmed
  • Table salt
  • Cooked sugo (GR's Napoletana sauce is ideal)
  • An abundance of Parmigiano cheese, grated


  • Cut and slice the eggplants into 1cm rounds. Place them on a baking tray and salt each round generously. Leave until all the salt has turned into water droplets (these are the bitter parts of the eggplant) and wash off with water. Pat dry with an absorbent towel.
  • In a lightly oiled large frying pan, cook each round of eggplant until it becomes soft and golden in colour. You will notice that they may be slightly translucent. This is fine, just be careful when removing them from the pan in order not to break them. Once cooked, place on an absorbent towel to remove any excess oil.
  • Next, place all the melanzane on a dish without overlapping (you may need a few long serving trays) and spoon the sugo over each piece ensuring it is well covered. Generously sprinkle the grated Parmigiano cheese over each piece.
  • Serve with fresh crusty Italian bread or try it on top of a cotoletta Milanese! Go on… it's delicious!
  • In a small bowl, add a mixture of some dried Italian herbs – think parsley, oregano, basil etc.)
  • In another bowl, add a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, some chopped parsley, red chillies and some very thinly sliced garlic. Spoon this over the melanzane to add a beautiful sheen. To eat, just do as above.
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