Posts Tagged ‘Aubergines’

Mediterranean vegetable lasagne with ricotta and parmesan

February 2, 2011

Lasagne is one of those fabulous dishes that I don’t think you really need a recipe for or an ingredients list for that matter. You can put almost anything in it. All you need is a tomato based sauce, a cheese based sauce some fresh or dried lasagne and game on! So basically I feel as if there is no need to write this recipe at all. Although I tend to forget that some people actually have never made lasagne or don’t really “wing it” with recipes like I do. So for all you people out there that need a recipe here goes.

Ingredients (serves 8 hungry people)

Tomato sauce

4 tins of peeled tomatoes
6-8 cloves of garlic
1 large red onion
Olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Sugar

Mediterranean Vegetables

1 large aubergine (eggplant)
4 red peppers/capsicum (you could use yellow or orange or a mixture – not green)
3 medium sized courgettes/zucchini
1 butternut squash peeled and diced 1 cm (approx 600 grams prepared weight)
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Cheese Sauce

2 tbsp plain flour
50 grams butter
1 ltr whole milk
Dijon mustard
100 grams parmesan finely grated
500 grams ricotta

2 packets of plain lasagne sheets (or equivalent of fresh)

Method

Start off by making your tomato sauce. The rule of thumb is the longer you cook the tomato sauce the taster it will be so I recommend at least an hour.

Peel and finely chop garlic, peel and finely dice red onion. Add to a large heavy based non reactive pan. Add a pinch of salt and a generous glug of olive oil (about 3 tbsp).

Heat on a low-medium heat until soft and sweet. This will take 10-15 mins. Do not brown. If it does start to brown remove from the heat and add a little more oil, this will cool everything down and stop the “burning”.

Add the tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil.

Once boiling reduce to a simmer and simmer for 40 mins – 1hr. Add water if it gets too thick and make sure you stir it regularly.

By this time the tomatoes should have broken down, if not help them along by breaking them up with a wooden spoon and cook for a further 10 – 15 mins. Make sure you taste the sauce at this stage and if it is a little bitter at a teaspoon of sugar.

Season with salt and pepper and leave to the side.

While this is all happening you can get on with preparing the veg. Place a char-grill pan on the stove and heat until blistering hot.

Slice the aubergine and courgettes length wise and drizzle with olive oil.

Char-grill until cooked through (a minute or 2 on each side) remove and place on kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil.

Char-grill the peppers until blackened all over and soft, place in a large bowl and cover to steam then cool so that you can peel them.

Once the peppers are cool enough to handle peel the blackened skin off and remove the seeds, you can keep the “juice” and add it to the sauce if you wish (it has a lovely smokey sweet flavour).

Pumpkin ready for roasting

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Pop the butternut squash into a baking dish – ideally a large one so that there is only one layer. Toss in a little oil and season. Bake in oven until tender and a little golden (about 35 – 35 mins)

Cut the courgettes, aubergine and peppers into bite size pieces (about 1cm strips) and add to the tomato sauce along with the roasted butternut squash. Taste for seasoning and add a little extra virgin olive oil for flavour.

Time now to make the ricotta cheese sauce.

Put the butter into a pan and melt over a low-medium heat, once melted add the flour and stir to make a paste. Cook for a minute or two. Slowly add in the milk, little at a time constantly stirring. Once all the milk is added keep stirring and cook until thickened (coat the back of a spoon).

Remove from the heat and add the grated Parmesan, a large teaspoon of Dijon mustard and season.

Once the sauce has cooled a little fold through the ricotta cheese.

You are now ready to layer up the lasagne.

Add a ladle of the tomato and veg sauce to the dish, spread evenly. Layer the lasagne sheets over this. Top with the cheese sauce (about a ladle) and repeat the process until you have used up the sauces and lasagne sheets or until your lasagne dish is full.

Your last layer should be cheese sauce and a slightly thicker layer. Then sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 45 min – 1 hour or until cooked through and golden brown.

This can be par cooked sliced and frozen. Serve with a big salad.

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Aubergine Parmigiana – yum!

July 11, 2010

Aubergine parmigiana

I think the first time I ever tasted this dish was at the Ionian Plaza in Argostoli, Kefalonia. My sister and I spent a summer there “drawing” – or should I say tanning and having fun. We had absolutely no money so rarely ate out. Once in a blue moon we would splash out and grab a bite to eat in the square and out restaurant of choice was the rather “posh” Ionian Plaza.

The aubergine Parmigiano was so delicious – I still remember how wonderful it was. It was baked in individual portions in a terracotta dish in a wood fired oven. Silky aubergine, rich sweet tomato sauce, gooey stringy mozzarella and salty parmesan.

Dribble!

It is really a very simple dish to make and so tasty. I actually think that it is best to make the day before so that it has time for the flavours to meld.

Excellent for a dinner party as all you need to do is bung it in the oven and serve it with a leafy salad. Simple!!

All you need to do is sit back with a glass of vino and enjoy yourself.

Ingredients: (serves 6 greedy people or 8 sensible normal people)

5 medium aubergines
2 medium red onions
2 kg of ripe fresh tomatoes or 2 bottles of really good passata
6 cloves of garlic
1 small bunch of fresh sweet basil
5 balls of buffalo mozarella
150 grams of parmesan Reggiano
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin olive oil

Method

First things first you need to get the tomato sauce on.

Finely dice the red onion and crush the garlic add to a heavy based pan with a large glug of olive oil and a good pinch of sea salt.

onions and garlic

While the onions and garlic are gently cooking you can peel the tomatoes (if you decide to use fresh tomatoes that is).

Peeling tomatoes

Cut a cross in the bottom of the tomatoes, pop in a heat proof bowl and pour over boiling water.

The tomatoes only need to be in the water for about 30 seconds to a minute. Then remove with a slotted spoon and leave to cool a little – until they are cool enough to touch. The skins should peel off easily. If not pop back in the boiling water for a little longer.

Remove the cores of the tomatoes, dice and add to the onions and garlic once they are cooked (translucent and sweet – no colour).

Tomatoes added to onions and garlic

Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce to simmer and cook for about 2 hours or until the tomatoes have completely disintegrated and the sauce is “saucy” and thick.

At this point add some finely sliced basil leaves and season with salt and pepper.

While the tomato sauce is cooking you can prepare the aubergine.

Wash and remove the top/stem.

Slice length ways into 3 – 4 mm slices.

Heat frying pan up with a some olive oil (approx 3 tablespoons).

Fry slices of aubergine until golden brown and cooked through. Then drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil. You may need to keep adding more oil to the pan as you cook the slices – the aubergine tends to absorb quite a lot of oil however it will give back a lot of it to the pan when it is cooked.

Aubergine slices frying

Frying the aubergine slices will take quite a lot of time, ideally you would use more than one frying pan to speed things along. Also remember aubergine will go brown if you slice it and leave it for a while so do not pre-slice all the aubergine at once. Only slice one at a time.

Okay now you have your sauce ready, the aubergine slices are fried and you are ready to layer up.

Use a ceramic or pyrex baking dish “lasagna dish”. Layer up with tomato sauce, the aubergine slices then a sprinkling of finely grated parmesan and tear pieces of buffalo mozzarella and dot over. Then repeat again until your final layer is aubergine top with tomato sauce and then liberally sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If it is browning too quickly you can cover with some tin foil and reduce the temp a little bit.

Remove from oven and rest for 30 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread and a leafy salad. Delish!!!!!

It is great for leftovers too.

By the way sorry about the terrible photo of the finished result – bad lighting (well that is my excuse) next time a make it I promise to take some better shots and upload them.

Easy tasty Stuffed Aubergines

May 10, 2010

Stuffed Aubergines

The majority of my friends have eaten this meal at my place – it is my “what will I cook?” first choice.

So easy, rather impressive and super tasty.

2 medium aubergines
1 medium red onion
4-6 cloves garlic
6 medium size ripe tomatoes
1 block of feta or ball of fresh mozzarella
Herbs (Parsley and/or Basil)
Parmesan

Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

Pre heat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Cut Aubergines in half, length ways, leaving stalk on. Score the flesh in a criss cross pattern, try to cut as far down as you can without cutting through the skin.

Aubergines scored with olive oil and ready for baking

Drizzle with olive oil and place on a baking tray in the oven until the flesh is golden and cooked through. This should take 25 – 35 mins.

Whilst the Aubergines are cooking dice the onion and finely chop the garlic and add to a heavy based pot with a hearty glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Onion and garlic finely chopped and sauteed

Saute until soft and sweet – do not brown.

Add finely chopped fresh tomatoes ( you do not need to remove the seeds and skins).

Chopped fresh tomatoes added to onions and garlic

Cook on a medium to low heat until tomatoes have broken down into a thick sauce.

Saucy tomatoes

Once Aubergines are cooked through remove from oven and let cool for a little bit, so that you can handle them without burning yourself. Scoop out flesh being careful not to tear skins, you can leave a little bit of flesh in the skins. Add scooped out flesh to the tomatoes. Add a large handful of finely sliced flat leave parsley and/or basil and crumble feta through in large-ish pieces (or 1 cm pieces of mozzarella).

Stir through (off the heat) taste and season if needed with Salt and Pepper – then refill the Aubergine shells. Grate some fresh parmesan over the top and pop back in the oven for 15 – 20 mins until cheese is melted and golden.

Baked aubergines

Aubergines stuffed and ready to go in the oven

Serve with a large fresh salad.

This should serve 4 or 2 very hungry people!!