Getting rid of: cheese, aubergine, raisins
This is, seriously, one of the best meals I made 2007! Nigella Lawson´s Feast is a book I leaf through at least every other week, just to enjoy her excellent writing and compensate myself during hard times for not having time to cook or having parties.
When I came home in late November after a particularly hard day at work I reminded myself that I a) had two large aubergines lying about in the fridge from the veggie box b) should grab the opportunity to make something proper even on a Tuesday. Involtini is maybe not the thing you should attack under these circumstances, but the name kept floating up in my brain all the way home and since I had most of the ingredients I simply jumped to the task. Nigella´s recipes are never scary - that helped! But do make sure you have a sandwich or some nibbles on hand before you start off - this will take you at least an hour! Count in that when you are finished and the involtini has cooled enough to eat you will remember nothing from your hard day at work, it is all obscured behind a joyful time of cooking!
Here is Nigella´s recipe (for those of you who has not yet got the book) with my own tweaks and changes
2-3 large aubergines cut lengthwise in thin slices
1500 grams tomato passata (I used less, see below)
200 grams mozzarella (I used leftover filling)
100 grams crumbled feta cheese
100 grams mozzarella
25 grams grated parmesan (I didn´t have any mozzarella in the house so instead I scraped together 225 grams of other mixed cheeses; feta cheese, another excellent salad cheese from Jarseost, and parmesan)
75 grams pine nuts (I used chopped walnuts or almonds if I remember correctly)
50 grams raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
zest from 1 lemon
a good pinch of dried mint
2 tpsb parsley
Brush the aubergine slices on both sides with olive oil and grill them until soft and nicely patterned, I used my beloved cast iron grill pan for this. Put aside and let it cool.
Mix everything for the filling in a bowl, yes, raisins too. I was soo sceptical to these raisins! I am not a huge fan of Fruit in Food you see, and warm raisins are...yeurgh... But I decided to stick to the recipe the best I could and go with the raisins which really was t-a-s-t-y, surprise surprise. In the meantime I decided to make a cooked tomato sauce instead of just using passata, because I had so many odd aubergine slices and some old onions and whatnot in the fridge. I simply chopped it all up, sautéed in olive oil, poured in a packet of passata and let it boil with some dried thyme, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar while I made the involtini. Put about a tablespoon of filling on each aubergine slice and roll it up firmly. Put in an ovenproof dish. When all the slices was gone I put the rest of the cheese filling in the tomato sauce and poured it over the involtini, and then baked in 190C oven for 25-30 minutes. The involtini should be served lukewarm according to Nigella, or cold - all but boiling hot from the oven! That way you will be able to really taste everything in these marvellous little rolls.