Given the carb overload I posted yesterday I thought it sensible to offer something that cuts out the carbs and replaces them with some virtuous vegetables… and some cheese.
Ingredients (This will make enough for 2 very generous portions or 2 sensible portions and left overs):
1 medium sized aubergine/eggplant about the size of a 1 pint milk bottle
Salt and pepper
A splash of oil for frying
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
½ cup black olive tapenade (or make your own by blending up ½ a cup of pitted black olives with a little dash of olive oil)
¾ cups tomato sauce (there is a recipe for all purpose tomato sauce on my blog which can be found here http://bit.ly/11BKB7z)
A handful of grated parmesan cheese (or pecorino for vegetarians)
First slice off the stalky top of the aubergine then slice into thin strips lengthways- you want the strips to be about ½ a centimetre thick. The temptation is to peel the aubergine as the skin seems quite thick but its tenderised during cooking and helps to hold the delicate flesh in shape when baked. I got 10 good strips from my aubergine and 2 skinny little things from the outer edges.
Splosh a little oil into a large frying pan and heat to a medium heat, when the oil is hot place the strips in the oil and season the side facing up- season the other side when you turn it. Don’t crowd the pan, fry the aubergine in batches if you have to, when it is lightly golden and has become quite soft, remove the slices form the pan and set aside to cool a little.
Have your baking dish ready, I’m a big fan of oven to tableware so choose something nice looking as it’s really a meal that can be served from the dish, my dish was about 20cm square.
Smush your ricotta up a bit so that it’s easier to spread, it sets a little in the carton but will resemble cream cheese if given a good mix. Take one of your aubergine strips and lay it flat on a board, spread a table heaped teaspoon of ricotta across the aubergine, on top spread a level teaspoon of black olive tapenade over the ricotta. Starting at the narrower end of the slice, roll the aubergine onto itself then place the roll with the open edge facing down in your baking dish. Repeat this with all the slices and tuck them up tightly in the baking dish in a nice orderly fashion- this makes portioning easier. Like I say, I got 10 good slices from my aubergine, which made 10 rolls, so you’ll see that 5 rolls makes a very generous portion per person.
Once all your aubergine slices are rolled and tucked up in your dish, pour over your tomato sauce making sure that all the rolls have at least a thin coating of sauce over them. Generously sprinkle over your parmesan then bake in the oven at about 180c for 45 mins until the top is golden brown and the edges begin to bubble.
When serving up, gentle use a spatula to find the rolls and try to portion up ‘whole ‘ rolls, it keeps the ricotta filling from oozing into the tomato sauce too much which means the flavours compliment each other but stay distinct.
This is essentially a cheat’s (or gluten free!) pasta dish so serve up with a nice green salad and enjoy your virtuously carb free dinner!