Stuffed aubergine with tomato sauce


    oil for frying (I use rapeseed)

    1 garlic clove, crushed whole

    1 onion, finely diced

    200g Arborio rice

    50ml port

    1 sprig rosemary

    500ml water or stock (hot)

    2 aubergines, sliced thinly, long ways

    300g passata

    drizzle balsamic vinegar

    pinch brown sugar

    good quality olive oil, to drizzle

    1 ball mozzarella, well drained and torn into strips

    50g pecorino, finely grated

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Main serves 4

This is a little like my favourite dish, parmigiana di melanzane, but with a bit more girth to it. I made it without cheese for the Supper Club, and it is perfectly lovely that way, so feel free to leave out the dairy for a vegan version.

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Make the risotto first. Pour a good glug of oil into a saucepan and add the garlic. Gently brown the garlic for a few minutes so it flavours the oil, then take it out and add the onion. Cook gently and, once it is translucent, add the rice and stir to coat all the grains.


Pour in the port and simmer for a few minutes until the alcohol has burnt off and you are just left with the flavour. Add the sprig of rosemary and start adding the stock a ladle at a time, letting the rice soak up all the liquid before adding the next.


Stop once the rice is edible but still with a bite, as it will cook a little more later on. Season well and set aside.


Fry the aubergines on a medium heat in batches. It takes a little while, so put the extractor on if you have one.


For the sauce, pour the passata into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add a glug of balsamic and, if it needs more sweetness, a pinch of sugar. Finish with a good glug of decent olive oil.


Preheat the grill to medium-high.


To assemble, spoon the risotto onto a slice of aubergine and roll up like you would a pig in blanket. Use a couple of pieces if you have small bits of aubergine. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just sturdy enough to hold its form when spooning onto your plate at the end.


Repeat until all the aubergine is used up, placing each parcel in an ovenproof dish, packing them in tight. Pour the tomato sauce over the top, add the cheese and grill for about 6 minutes or until the cheese is crispy and browning.

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