Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Ricotta stuffed Aubergine Rolls

Hey, the suns out!! And it's not just out for one day is here for the week........but there is a downside to that, it means shorts and maybe even vest tops and if I'm really brave a bikini (tops only at the moment I'll keep my shorts on  - and then only in the privacy of my own garden - thank you very much!)

So with that in mind, and with the promise of longer, hotter days just round the corner, some of us will be watching what goes into our mouths to hopefully appear less lumpy around the pool. But this shouldn't cut down on the flavour of our foods just be a bit more savvy with how and what we cook...

A good example of a heathy but rich tasting and filling dish, is my aubergine stuffed with ricotta and spinach. I love stuffed pasta but that can be a bit high on the calories so substituting an aubergine is a perfect healthy alternative....

Recipe     serves 2
1 aubergine
250g baby spinach leaves
150g ricotta
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 onion - cut into small dice
1 teaspoon herb de provence
1 clove garlic - crushed
Parmesan - grated about 1 tablespoon but more if you want
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs

Pre-heat oven 180C/Gas 6

Slice your aubergines lengthwise and lay on an olive oiled baking sheet. Cover with more oil and pop into your pre-heated oven for about 20 mins - turn over after 10 mins and cook until tender but not too coloured.

Whilst the aubergines are cooking it's time to make up your tomato sauce. Simple pop the onions, with a little olive oil, into a large non-stick frying pan and gently cook without colouring. Once the onions have softened add your whole tin of tomatoes and let it cook down over low heat until about half of the moisture has evaporated and your left with a thick tomato sauce. Add your garlic, herb de provence and a little salt and pepper. Set to one side to cool.

Meanwhile wilt your spinach. Place the leaves into a large colander and pour a kettle of boiling water over the leaves. Immediately shake as much of the water and, once it is cooled enough to handle, squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible.

Pop your cooled, wilted spinach in a bowl, followed by the ricotta and mash together....

Add about half a teaspoon nutmeg - more or less if you wish - followed by some salt & loads of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if desired - I find that ricotta some times needs a little more salt .....

Once your aubergines are out of the oven and cool, it's time to stuff and roll. Just put about a dessert spoon of filling to an end of an aubergine slice and roll it up - simple.

Now place about 2 thirds of your tomato sauce into the bottom of a shallow baking dish and place your aubergine rolls on top - nestle them well into the sauce roll side down......

Dollop the rest of the sauce evenly over the top of the rolls and then sprinkle on your breadcrumbs and grated parmesan.

Pop into your oven and cook for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown and piping hot.

The ricotta and spinach filling will stay inside the aubergines whilst it's all cooking making a lovely rich and creamy texture to the dish...

Serve on a bed of salad for a healthy supper...

Try adding a few pine nuts to the topping or maybe some chilli flakes to the ricotta stuffing and if time is pressing a shop bought tomato pasta sauce is a good alternative to making your own.

Have a lovely sunny day

 Ricotta stuffed Aubergine