F&W Pick: Aubergine and ricotta gratin
Author: Lynda Booth
Photographer: Joanne Murphy
DCS Publishing, €29.99
For those fed up with finicky diets and food fads, Lynda Booth’s second book is the anecdote. Founder of the Dublin Cookery School, Lynda is an experienced teacher willing and able to raise the home-cook’s standards in the kitchen. This is real food for real cooks with recipes that will stand the test of time – keep this on your shelf, and you’ll barely need anything else.
Aubergine and ricotta gratin
For the tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 large aubergines olive oil, for cooking
For the ricotta topping
- 110g ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 handful of freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for the top
- 150ml cream
- 10 basil leaves
- Preheat oven to 220˚C/gas mark 7. To make the tomato sauce: heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the chopped onion. Season with salt, cover with a lid and reduce the heat.
- Cook the onions for about 10 minutes until softened, stirring regularly. Add the garlic, cook out for a couple of minutes and then mix in the tinned tomatoes and sugar. Season. Simmer until the tomatoes have reduced to a thickish sauce, about 30-40 minutes.
- To roast the aubergines, slice the aubergine into rounds about 5mm thick. Pour some olive oil into a ramekin or small bowl and, with a pastry brush, paint both sides of the aubergine with the oil. Place the aubergine slices in a single layer on a baking tray (use a silicone mat if you have one). Season each slice. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning the aubergine slices over half-way through the cooking. Cook until they are lightly coloured and totally tender. If they look a little dry when you turn them, paint the surface again with some olive oil and return to the oven.
- To make the ricotta topping, place the ricotta in a small bowl and break up with a fork. Beat in the egg and cream. Season and stir in a good fistful of Parmesan cheese and a few shredded basil leaves.