We’re going Italian with today’s vegetarian recipe. No pasta or meat in sight, but it definitely has an Italian feel to it. Especially if you say it like this: Par-mi-gi-aaaaana *fingertips of right hand bunched together while hand is waving up and down*
Right? It’s Italian!
My Parmigiana is made up of layers of sliced aubergine with a tomato, red pepper and courgette sauce, lots of basil, topped with Ricotta and parmesan cheese. With it you’ll serve cheat’s bruchetta for crunch and for wiping up the tomato sauce. Ooh la la!
Oh wait. That’s French.
The bruschetta is super easy to make. It’s just sliced store-bought ciabatta buns (I’m not even going to pretend I bake my own ciabatta buns), topped with an easy herb, garlic and parmesan mix. The trick is to add course salt to the herbs, garlic and parmesan so that when you mash it all together, the salt with break up the finely chopped herbs even further. It’s really so easy to do, but looks impressive and tastes awesome.
The recipe makes two generous portions, but you can easily stretch it to four portions if you add a salad. Just don’t leave out the cheat’s bruchetta – those babies are gooood!
Parmigiana with ricotta and easy bruchetta
- 1 can of organic chopped tomatoes
- 1 large courgette, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 aubergine, sliced lengthwise thinly
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 garlic gloves, finely chopped/grated
- big handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 50ml of boiled water
- 2 tbsp agave nectar or sugar
- 250 g ricotta cheese
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 40g parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 ciabatta rolls
- Preheat over to 200C / 180 C (fan).
- Heat a large, wide pan with a drizzle of olive oil and fry the aubergine slices 3 – 4 minutes on each side. Set the aubergine aside until you need it later.
- Drizzle olive oil in the pan again and fry the onions with a pinch of salt until softened. Add one of the chopped garlic cloves and cook for a further 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoe paste, dried oregano and 2 tbsp of agave nectar or sugar to taste and cook for half a minute.
- Add the tin of chopped tomato, vegetable stock and half of the basil. Cook until the sauce has thickened to a bolognaise consistency
- Layer the aubergine slices and tomato sauce into a oven proof dish. Let the sauce cool slightly.
- Whisk together chopped parsley and add ricotta
- When the sauce has cooled, top with the ricotta mix and sprinkle with half of the parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the cheese has browned
- While the parmigiana is baking, grind together the finely chopped remaining parsley, basil, one crushed garlic clove and remaining parmesan cheese with a pinch of coarse salt, until smooth. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of cold water and mix well. Spread this on the sliced ciabatta rolls and place onto a baking tray. Add the tray to the oven for the last 10 minutes of the lasagne baking time.
- Remove the parmigiana and ciabatta slices from the oven. Let the parmigiana cool before slicing.
Natasja King – food for the body, food for the soul