Thursday, September 25, 2008
Eggplant are a challenge to the creative cook and allow for some unusual recipe ideas. Here, they are filled with a rice stuffing and baked with a cheese and pine nut dressing. Recipe serves 4.
4 small eggplant
7 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
Scant 1 cup risotto rice
3 cups hot vegetable stock
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts
For the tomato sauce:
1 1/4 cups thick passata or pureed tomatoes
1 teaspoon mild curry paste
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and remove the flesh with a small knife. Brush the shells with 2 tablespoons of the oil and bake on a baking sheet, supported by crumpled foil, for 6-8 minutes.
2. Chop the eggplant flesh. Heat the remaining oil in a medium pan. Add the eggplant flesh and the onion, and cook over a gentle heat for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the rice and stock, and leave to simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Add the vinegar.
3. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Spoon the rice mixture into the eggplant skins, top with the cheese and pine nuts, return to the over and brown for 5 minutes.
4. To make the sauce, mix the passata or pureed tomatoes with the curry paste in a small pan. Heat through and add salt to taste. Spoon the sauce on to four individual serving plates and arrange two eggplant halves on each one.
Tip: If the eggplant shells do not stand level, cut a thin slice from the bottom.