Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Recipe / Aubergine Rolls

This recipe is one of my absolute favourites. It’s my kinda comfort food for a perfect night in. But it’s no ordinary comfort food – it’s super healthy. There’s no bad stuff, just slices of aubergine stuffed with a spinach and ricotta filling smothered in a rich tomato sauce. This will serve 3-4 people (although Marcus and I were particularly hungry and it went down a treat between just the two of us!)

Tomato Sauce Recipe
You can use a shop bought tomato sauce but I prefer to make my own before hand. This tomato sauce is my go-to sauce to accompany so many dishes such as pasta, chicken, and fish.

Add a dollop of coconut oil to a hot pan and add one finely sliced onion, 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic, 4 large chopped tomatoes, and one chopped chilli. After a couple of minutes, add a handful of chopped olives of your choice (I use pitted kalamata olives), 1-2 tablespoons of capers and cook for a few minutes further. Now add two cans of chopped tomatoes and season. I like to add a mixture of herbs at this point too. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. It may seem like a long time but it will thicken and become deliciously rich. You can now get on with the rest of the recipe while your sauce is bubbling away.

Aubergine Rolls

tbsp Coconut Oil
2 Aubergines (eggplant)
400g Spinach
250g Ricotta Cheese
A Sprinkle of Nutmeg or Cinnamon
Tomato Sauce as seen above (or one large jar of shop bought tomato sauce)
2 tbsp Breadcrumbs
2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese

Step 1
Heat oven to 200C
Start by chopping the ends off of your aubergines and slice long-ways so that you have around 5-6 slices from each aubergine. Brush with coconut oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop in the oven for 10 minutes. Once they’re done, set aside. Keep the oven on at the same temperature for later!

Step 2
Using a large colander, pour boiling water over the spinach to wilt it. You don’t want it too cooked otherwise it’ll be too squishy! You could try steaming the spinach for a couple of minutes instead if you prefer.

Step 3
Drain out as much water from the spinach as you can and then in a bowl, mix the spinach with the ricotta and nutmeg (or cinnamon if you prefer).

Step 4
Grab a large ceramic baking dish and pour a thin layer of the tomato sauce into the dish, just enough to cover the whole of the surface.

Step 5
Spoon roughly one tablespoon amount of the spinach mixture about 3/4 of the way up the aubergine slice and roll it up.

Step 6
Place seal side down into the dish on top of the tomato sauce. Do this with all the aubergine rolls until the dish is full. If you have any spinach mixture left over keep this to the side.

Step 7
Now pour the tomato sauce over all the aubergine rolls until they are covered. If you made the tomato sauce from the recipe above, you will probably have quite a lot of the sauce left over. I like to keep mine in the freezer in a freezable container to save it for another time!

Step 8
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. I didn’t have any stale bread in my house so I just took a slice of rye bread that I had and popped it in under the grill on a low heat for a few minutes until it went golden and crusty. It was then easy to break up into breadcrumbs.

Step 9
Then sprinkle over the parmesan. If you’re feeling fancy, grate over some fresh parmesan but if you’re like me just buy some already grated parmesan from the store.

Step 10
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes when the top is looking lovely and golden. 

If you had any left over spinach mixture from earlier you can serve it on the side. I also like to serve it with a fresh, crisp salad.

Voila! A perfect excuse to have a night in.

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