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Frankie's parmigiana

  • Story Highlights
  • Frankie Dettori's favorite recipe from his new cookbook: Aubergine Parmigiana
  • Leading jockey spends many months dieting but when "off-duty" loves food
  • Opened first of "Frankie's" restaurants in 2004, now chain of six worldwide
  • Released Italian family cookbook with chef Marco Pierre White in March, 2008
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(CNN) -- Leading jockey Frankie Dettori may have spent most of his life on a diet, but when it comes to his favorite pastimes food is right up there with racing.

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Around five years ago Dettori met Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White and asked him where he could go out with his young family to eat.

"I couldn't answer the question," Marco Pierre White told CNN, "and that's how Frankie's was born. That simple."

They opened their first restaurant in London in 2004. Now there are four in London, one in Shanghai and one in Dubai.

This March, a cookbook followed: "Frankie Dettori's Italian Family Cookbook." This is his favorite recipe. Enjoy!

Frankie: "My father loved this particular dish as, although it's vegetarian, it has the meaty and slightly smoky texture of a good steak. To this day it makes me think of childhood Sunday lunches."

Parmigiana di Melanzane / Aubergine Parmigiana

INGREDIENTS

1 kg aubergines

extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 x 400g cans of good quality tinned tomatoes, sieved and chopped

a small handful of fresh basil leaves

a large handful of finely grated Parmesan

1½ kg fresh Mozzarella, cubed

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas Mark 4.

Cut the aubergines in ½cm strips, lengthwise. Sprinkle each slice with salt and layer on a plate. Cover with a plate of the same size and add a heavy weight on top (such as a large bottle of water) so that water can be squeezed out of the aubergines. Set aside for 2-3 hours.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and fry until slightly golden. Add the tomatoes and basil, and cook over a medium heat for 25 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Season to taste.

Remove the weight from the aubergine, thoroughly rinse the slices and pat dry. Generously cover the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil and place over a high heat. In batches, brown the aubergine slices on both sides, lowering the heat and adding oil as required. Drain the slices on kitchen roll as you go along.

Cover the bottom of a 23cm x 30cm ovenproof dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce; add a layer of aubergine slices, then top with a handful of the cheeses. Ladle some tomato sauce over this and continue layering, finishing with one of tomato sauce and a sprinkling of cheeses.

Bake for 15-20 minutes to heat through and melt the Mozzarella, then set aside for a few minutes to cool. Cut into squares and serve warm.

Serves 8

Preparation time: 3 hours

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Courtesy: Harpercollins Publishers E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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