Braised chilli and tomato egg­plant

donna hay - - Cuisine Italian -

1 egg­plant (aubergine), sliced 1.5cm thick 2 tea­spoons sea salt flakes

3 red cap­sicums (bell pep­pers)

2 zuc­chini (cour­gette), sliced 1.5cm thick ¼ cup (60ml) ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 2 onions, thinly sliced

4 cloves gar­lic, thinly sliced

1 small bunch thyme

4 bay leaves

1 long red chilli sea salt and cracked black pep­per 250g cherry toma­toes

2 ta­ble­spoons tomato paste

2 cups (500ml) veg­etable stock

400g can diced toma­toes cia­batta, to serve

Place the egg­plant and salt in a colan­der set over a large bowl. Toss to com­bine and set aside for 1 hour. Pre­heat grill (broiler) to 250°C (485°F) or high. Place the cap­sicums on an oven tray and cook, turn­ing oc­ca­sion­ally, for 12–15 min­utes or un­til blis­tered and black­ened. Place in a medium bowl, cover with plas­tic wrap and set aside for 10 min­utes.

Pre­heat oven to 240°C (475°F). Peel the cap­sicum skins, re­move seeds and dis­card. Tear into large pieces and set aside. Brush any ex­cess salt off the egg­plant and pat dry with pa­per towel. Place the egg­plant and zuc­chini on a large oven tray and driz­zle with 2 ta­ble­spoons of the oil. Cook for 18–20 min­utes or un­til golden brown. Set aside.

Heat the re­main­ing oil in a large, shal­low saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, gar­lic, thyme, bay leaves, chilli, salt and pep­per, and cook, cov­ered, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, for 12–15 min­utes or un­til soft. Add the cherry toma­toes and tomato paste and cook for 2 min­utes. Add the stock and diced toma­toes and bring to a sim­mer. Cook for 25–30 min­utes or un­til re­duced. Add the cap­sicum, egg­plant and zuc­chini. Mix to com­bine. Sprin­kle with pep­per and serve with cia­batta. SERVES 4–6.

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