Ricotta-Stuffed Aubergines in Tomato Sauce

Anjum Anand
Cook time 45 Minutes
Servings 3 - 4

Ingredients

3 tomatoes, quartered and deseeded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 aubergines, cut into 1cm slices lengthways (you need about 12 slices in all)
3 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for the aubergines
¾ tsp fennel seeds
1 largish onion, chopped
4 fat garlic cloves, grated
2 tsp Ardmona tomato purée
½  fat red chilli, finely sliced
1 tsp ground coriander
Caster sugar, if needed
225g ricotta cheese
½ small red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp shredded mint leaves

Ricotta-Stuffed Aubergines in Tomato Sauce

Method

Blend the tomatoes with a little water until smooth. Lightly season the aubergines. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the fennel seeds and cook for 10 seconds, then tip in the onion and cook until lightly browned on the edges. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so. Add the blended tomatoes, tomato purée, chilli, coriander and seasoning. Cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens into a paste and releases oil, around 15 minutes. Taste, it should taste harmonious. Pour in 150ml of water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for four to five minutes, or until it all comes together into a creamy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are too acidic.

Meanwhile, cook the aubergines: heat a good drizzle of oil in a large frying pan and add as many slices of aubergines as will fit in the pan; cook over a medium heat until golden brown on the underside, then turn over and repeat, it takes around three minutes a side. Remove and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining slices until they are all cooked. (You can also cook these in an oven preheated to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4; brush liberally with oil, season and place on a baking tray, then cook for 15–20 minutes, or until completely soft.)

Mix together the ricotta, red onion and mint and season. Place 1 tbsp of this on to each slice of aubergine, about 2.5cm from the edge. Carefully roll them up into fat short logs, patting in any escaping ricotta. Place the rolls seam-side down in the tomato sauce, spoon over some of the sauce and gently heat through for three or four minutes. Serve hot.