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Recipe: Aubergine Parmigiana Rolls

Chef Sabyasachi Gorai has a new-fangled recipe of the Italian classic Aubergine Parmigiana that features eggplant/baigan, broccoli and two types of cheese.

This dish is usually served in Italy with grilled meat or fish, salad and garlic bread. A lightly-flavoured pasta or buttered wide noodles (tagliatelle) and/or a bowl of soup works well too.

If you have eggplant/baigan-fans around, offer it up as a lovely starter.

Chef Sabya is currently working on re-vamping the menu at Kolkata’s European cuisine eatery Cafe Mezzuna with Mediterranean touches.

Aubergine Parmigiana

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 brinjals/baigan or aubergines, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red capsicum or bell pepper, cored, deseeded, finely diced
  • 100 gm broccoli florets, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 50 gm walnuts, chopped + 15 whole walnuts
  • 125 gm mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 400 gm tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp or more finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste, about 1½ tsp
  • Dash black pepper powder, preferably freshly crushed
  • Butter to grease the ovenproof dish
  • Toothpicks

Method

  • Preheat an oven to 200°C.
  • Brush the aubergine/baigan slices with a little olive oil and griddle or fry for 1-2 minutes on each side either in a frying pan or in a foil-lined tray in a grill.
  • Add the remaining oil to a large frying pan and saute the bell pepper, broccoli florets, chopped tomatoes.
    Add the 15 whole walnuts and cook for 4-5 minutes more until soft.
    Season with salt and the pepper powder.
    Stir for a few minutes and take off heat and keep aside.
  • Select 12 of the largest aubergine/baigan slices and place on a cutting board.
    Place half a slice of mozzarella in the centre of each aubergine/baigan.
    Divide the bell pepper-broccoli-tomato filling into 12 equal parts and a portion on top of the mozzarella on each aubergine/baigan slice.
    Roll up the aubergine/baigan slices and pin with toothpicks.
    Placing the sealed side down, line up the stuffed aubergines in a buttered ovenproof dish.
    Finely chop any remaining aubergine/baigan slices and stir it into the tomato puree.
    Pour the puree over the aubergine/baigan rolls and scatter the remaining mozzarella too, along with the chopped walnuts.
    Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese and bake for 30 minutes until golden and tender.
    Serve warm.

Editor’s Note: Consider adding 2 tsp garlic paste while frying up the veggies. A little chopped onion might be welcome too.

If not weight watching, up the cheeses a tad in this dish. 

Pine nuts are expensive, but are an interesting alternative to walnuts.

Add a few tbsp fried up chicken or mutton kheema or mince in the tomato puree for a meaty taste.

For vegan Aubergine/baigan Parmigiana use vegan cheese.

In addition to tomato puree, consider smothering the eggplant rolls, before baking, with a little white sauce too. For the white sauce: Warm 1 cup milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat with a ¼ of a small onion chopped, 1 tej patta or bay leaf.
Take off heat and let it infuse for 30 minutes.
In another saucepan, melt a 2 tsp butter over low heat.
Add 2-3 tsp maida or all-purpose flour.
Add the infused-milk and whisk over low heat till you get a thick, smooth, lump-free paste.
Fish out the bay leaf and discard and add several tbsp of this white sauce as a layer to the aubergine/baigan rolls along with the tomato puree.

Chef Sabyasachi Gorai is a consultant chef and mentor.

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