For Cooking and Carafes latest #MeatFreeMonday challenge I’ve chosen to use aubergine. Notorious for being a meaty veg, aubergine is a key ingredient in moussaka, caponata and the classic pasta alla norma – one of my favourites! It’s often used in a number of Sicilian dishes too or served as a side but one of the other Italian classics is melanzane alla parmigiana.
This version is more like a stuffed aubergine but uses the same ingredients as melanzane alla parmigiana and is great for two or double up the ingredients to serve for more – this is easy and fuss free and I’ve added a few ideas for ways you can mix it up to your taste.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- Olive oil
- 1 aubergine
- 400g chopped tomatoes
- Mozzarella ball
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Halve the aubergine (leave the stalk, it makes for pretty photos but more importantly holds it together!).
- With a knife cut round the inside of the aubergine, leaving about 1cm of flesh and be careful not to cut through the skin. Then scoop out the insides. Brush the inside of the aubergine halves with olive oil, place in a baking dish and cover with foil and cook in the oven for 30 minutes, they’ll start to soften – if they still look and feel too hard leave for a little longer.
- Meanwhile, chop the aubergine insides into roughly 1cm cubes, season with a little salt and cook in a pan with for 5 -10 minutes with a lug of olive oil. Aubergines absorb olive oil quickly so don’t worry too much if they look a little dry, season with oregano and pepper and then add the chopped tomatoes.
Optional: When you’re making the sauce you can easily add garlic or onion to add more flavour but I wanted to keep mine simple.
- Allow the aubergine and tomato sauce to simmer and tear about 5 basil leaves into the sauce for flavour.
Optional: you could also add chopped black olives at this point if you want some more flavour.
- If the sauce starts to dry out either add a little water or turn off the heat. Once the aubergines are cooked remove the foil and half fill with the sauce, add a layer of mozzarella, top with more sauce and a final layer of mozzarella, season with a little oregano and pepper and parmesan.
- Turn the oven up to 200°C and put the aubergines back in for 10 – 15 minutes until the mozzarella starts to brown.
- I served mine with Merchant Gourmet Freekeh but you could just as easily use cous cous, I think giant cous cous would be great or quinoa and lentils. I also served with a side of rocket.
If you want to take part in the weekly challenge, look out for #MeatFreeMonday dishes during #HertsHour on Mondays 8 – 9pm and meet lots of fellow foodies and local businesses – its the best part of my Mondays!
Here’s some dishes made by Cooking and Carafes followers from a previous challenge with our mushroom and thyme tagliatelle