We have been playing with meat free dishes for a while and although it is taking us out of our comfort zone we are having fun with the step by step exploration. We have really enjoyed refining our Aubergine Parmigiana but one day we didn’t have enough aubergine, but we did have a little gnocchi. And so we came to this dish. On the first trial run we went with a simple parmigiana sauce. This worked really well, especially with the addition of some red peppers. This is the dish we will describe here. We have also tweaked the recipe further and moved it a little closer to a puttanesca sauce with anchovies, capers and olives but without the chilli. We will look at that recipe later!
The dish is simplicity itself. The aubergine was cut into decent size chunks. I like them to be odd shapes rather than cubes, but what ever way they should be around 3 cm in most directions. These were sautéed in a little oil until each side had taken on some colour and the pieces are a little gnarly.
We then added the chopped pepper and cooked for a few minutes more. Then set both the peppers and aubergine mix to one side. The onion was finely chopped and added to the pan to soften in a little olive oil. Once it had started to take on some colour the chopped garlic was added too and cooked for a few minutes more.
The can of chopped tomatoes was tossed in and allowed to cook through for a couple of minutes and then seasoned with salt and pepper. At this point we added the roasted aubergines, pepper and the gnocchi. The sauce was left to bubble for 10-15 mins, stirring occasionally, until the gnocchi was soft and the sauce had thickened. This would be the time to transfer to an ovenproof dish, but as we were cooking in the Tefal Ingenio pans with the removable handles, this was going to be our ovenproof dish.
We stirred through some fresh oregano and thyme and then scattered the torn chunks of mozzarella on the top. You could also add a little grated parmesan cheese to add more crunch to the top if you fancy the idea. We have cooked this inside on the hob and on the Big Green Egg, both work well.
The vents were closed on the Egg and the cheese allowed to melt for a minute or two. Whether cooking in a domestic kitchen or on the Big Green Egg the dish really needs to be finished under a domestic grill as a ‘crozzled top’ is the one thing the BGE doesn’t do well (unless you are using a very small pan in a much larger EGG). The dish was put under the grill in the kitchen to finish off the top – just watch that it doesn’t burn!!!
Serve with a green salad ………………… give it a go!
Add anchovies, capers and black olives rather than the finely chopped red pepper – but we will link to this later!!
Gnocchi, Aubergine and Red Pepper Bake
A combination of roasted Aubergines, tomato sauce and gnocchi - a perfect and simple bake
- 1 Aubergine cut into decent size chunks.
- Olive oil for sautéing
- 1 Red pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1 Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Garlic clove chopped
- 400g tin of tomatoes
- Salt and pepper.
- 250g gnocchi
- Fresh or dried oregano and thyme
- 125g mozzarella
- Grated parmesan (optional)
- Step 1 Cut the aubergine into chunks, around 3 cm in most directions. Sauté in a little oil until each side had taken on some colour and the pieces are a little gnarly. Add the chopped pepper and cook for a few minutes more. Set both the peppers and aubergine to one side.
- Step 2 Add the finely chopped onion to the pan and soften in a little olive oil. Once it takes on some colour add the chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes more.
- Step 3 Toss in the tinned tomatoes and allow to cook through for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Step 4 Add the roasted aubergines, pepper and the gnocchi and leave the sauce to bubble for 10-15 mins, stirring occasionally. The gnocchi will soften and the sauce thicken. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, stir through some fresh oregano and thyme and then scatter torn chunks of mozzarella on the top. At this point you can also add a little grated parmesan cheese
- Step 5 To get a crunchy top transfer to a domestic grill for a couple of minutes to finish off the top – just watch that it doesn’t burn!!!
- Step 6 Serve with a green salad