The recipe is a delicious combination of char-grilled aubergine slices, stuffed with ricotta and caramelised onion, chestnut mushrooms and spinach and then baked in tomato and basil passata.
Firstly, slice 1-2 aubergines into relatively thin strips. The best way to do this (I’ve found) is to chop off either side of the aubergines. Lay them on your board, cut off the green end and then carefully slice off the right side of the aubergine, then the other side. Begin slicing to form the ‘roll-up’ strips by cutting as thinly as possible (without being too thin!) It’s tricky!
Oil either side of the slices / strips and then salt to taste. Place on a baking tray and put in the oven under a medium to high grill temperature for 10 minutes. You won’t need to turn them. While they’re cooking, finely dice 1 onion, a handful of chestnut mushrooms (also diced) and cook in a little bit of butter and a glug of olive oil. Season to taste and cook until softened. Add a handful of roughly chopped spinach and cook until wilted. At this point, you’re welcome to add some minced garlic, red chili pepper flakes and some parsley (I love adding parsley – the greener the better!). Take off of the heat and then set aside.
Check your aubergines. If they’re nearly crispy, take them out of the oven and heat up a large frying pan. Leave oven on. Without adding extra oil, add each slice and cook a little on either side. They should be super fragrant now and slightly charred (if you like them that way – I know I do!). Pour 350g of tomato and basil passata onto the bottom of a roast pan that is relatively deep.
Mix a tub of ricotta with the onion, mushroom and spinach mix and again, season to taste. You’re welcome to add some grated parmesan (having just got back from Italy, that’s happening a lot! Parmesan on everything!) and mix thoroughly. To make them easier to handle, wait for the aubergine slices to cool. Then spread ricotta mix on one side of each aubergine slice. Roll from the narrowest side (i.e. where you cut off the green stem). Place each roll-up onto the passata and top with a sprinkling of parmesan.
I had a bit of the onion and mushroom mix (minus the ricotta) left over so I added that to the top of mine with some grated cheese. Again, entirely your preference. Bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes at a medium temperature (around 125 degrees celsius).
I hope you enjoy! This dish is very moreish and I recommend serving it with some simple risotto – if you have the time!