Eggplant with veal
I always associate this dish with the German word Heimat. Its complex emotional overtones make me think of a small homeland, concealed in the most certain and firmest corner of my memory. I'd call it my family tradition. Easy to make and, for those of us who have always grown industrial quantities of eggplant, also very cheap. As always, the first thing to do, and what mom always did while we were all still fast asleep, is to put the sauce on to cook.
Finely chop an onion and fry it, add ground veal and cook everything together, ad salt and the strained tomatoes. The sauce should then be adjusted for salt and sweetened with a pinch of sugar, regularly adding water and letting it cook slowly through the morning while you prepare all the other ingredients. Separately prepare the eggplants by peeling, slicing and then sweating them by arranging them in layers sprinkled with salt in a colander and leaving them for about twenty minutes with a weight on top. Then rinse them in running water, squeeze the water out of them and fry them in plenty of olive oil. In the meantime cook the pasta (Fileja di Tropea or maccheroni calabresi) and drain it when it is still al dente. Dress it with the sauce but don't pour it all over the pasta (some has to be kept for the layering). Then take the sliced caciocavallo di Ciminà calabrese, grated grana and deep baking pan of the desired shape: trickle a little olive extra virgin oil over the bottom of the pan, add a little sauce, a layer of pasta, another of sauce, a sprinkling of grana, layer of caciocavallo di Ciminà, one of fried eggplant and so on with all the ingredients. This pasta tends to dry out so be generous with sauce and make sure it is fairly runny in the layering. Bake at 190 °C for about twenty minutes and serve hot.
500 grammi di Fileja di Tropea
250 grammi ground veal
1 liter strained tomatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 kg purple eggplant
extra virgin olive oil for frying
300 grammi sliced caciocavallo di Ciminà
200 grammi grated gran padano