Last month, Italian chef Nello Russo, from Angelo's Ristorante, educated us in serving the perfect lamb rump. This month, we're getting a lesson in aubergine.
With more of us than ever cooking and entertaining at home, the pressure is on to impress your guests (and yourself) with a tasty and satisfying meal.
But in the interests of not driving yourself mad, it's always good to have a simple recipe. So we've turned to Nello Russo, the country's best Italian chef, for inspiration.
In April, Nello, who wows diners at Angelo's Ristorante in West Sunniside and a new premises in East Rainton, showed us to make the best lamb rump dish.
Take his advice and learn how to cook this tasty and satisfying aubergine dish - and it's simple too! It serves six people.
Four tablespoons olive oil
Two cloves garlic finely sliced
Two x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
Two teaspoons dried oregano
Three large aubergines, cut into 1cm thick slices, stem removed
15 basil leaves
100g grated Italian style hard cheese or Parmesan (the parmesan will not suitable for vegetarians)
One ball mozzarella
40g dried breadcrumbs
Salt and black pepper
Place one tablespoon of olive oil and the sliced garlic into a saucepan. Place on a medium heat and, once it starts to sizzle, fry for one minute then quickly tip in the tomatoes and dried oregano.
Simmer gently for about 15 minutes whilst you prepare your aubergines.
Heat a griddle pan on a high heat. Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil then in batched griddle on both sides until soft and lightly charred, then remove from the griddle and set to one side.
When all the aubergines are cooked and the sauce has thickened add the basil leaves to the sauce, season with salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 190C or Gas 5 and take an ovenproof dish about 25cm x 12cm.
Place a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of the dish then sprinkle with a little of the grated Parmesan. Place a layer of the aubergines on top and season with salt and pepper.
Repeat the layers, finishing with a little of the tomato sauce.
Tear the mozzarella over the tomato sauce then mix together any remaining parmesan and the breadcrumbs and scatter over the top.
Place it in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave to stand for 10 minutes then serve.