Winter Panzanella by Temple Perrotta

Winter panzanella
This is a nice alternative to the summer classic—without the pain of soaking and squeezing. I haven’t put amounts for the ingredients because they can vary according to your own tastes, but the amounts are pretty much equal on a cup-for-cup basis

Loaf of day old bread (Tuscan Pugliese)
Cherry tomatoes
Purple onion, preferably green
Yellow sweet pepper
Crushed garlic
Black olives, gaeta or niçoise
Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic vinegar
Canned crushed tomatoes

Slice the bread into 1 inch slices and tear them into bite-size pieces
Cut all the vegetables except the garlic and tomatoes into 1” cubes; salt and drain the aubergines
In a large bowl, combine the vegetables, enough olive oil to coat them lightly, 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, and 1 tbsp of crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper; combine with your hands to mix all ingredients well
Put the vegetables into an oiled roasting pan and place in a preheated 225° oven for 15’ stirring occasionally, then add the whole tomatoes and olives; roast for another 5-6’
Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pan (I used a wok) heat ¼ cup olive oil and add the crushed garlic; when sizzling, add the bread and toss continuously until well coated; continue until the bread becomes croutons but still soft in the centre
Add the vegetables to the bread and combine well; adjust seasoning if necessary
Serve warm as a salad, a starter or side

Melanzane and Zucchini Lasagna by Marla Gulley Roncaglia

Melanzane and Zucchini Lasagna

2 large eggplant/aubergine/melanzane, peeled and sliced lengthwise in medium thick slices,
2-4 large zucchini
4-6 large tomatoes, fresh or a large can of crushed or diced tomatoes
Basil, handful fresh, julienned
1 large or 2 medium eggs500g (2-12 oz containers) Ricotta
200g (1c ) Parmesan or other hard grating cheese, and a bit more for topping
1/4 t or less nutmeg, fresh grated
Salt and pepper
Hot red pepper

Feel free at add any tidbits of goat or other flavorful cheese you might have kicking around begging to get used up. This recipes lends it self to much variation.
Wash and prepare your vegetables, slicing them lengthwise so the are about 1/4″/1/2cm thick. Heat your grill up and begin grilling your vegetables, while you prepare the remainder of your ingredients.
Wash and pat dry the basil and cut up into thing strips, or if you prefer, tear into bite size bits
In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg and Parmesan cheese. Add a few good gratings of nutmeg.
Season the cheese mixture with salt, pepper and a pinch of hot pepper.
Take a 9″x13″pan, or something equivalent, and grease with olive oil or or line with baking paper, like I do for an easy clean up.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil and begin you vegetable layering with grilled slices of aubergine laid singly sibe by side to cover the bottom and cover with a single layer of the zucchini, sprinkling a bit of salt and olive oil if you haven’t seasoned the vegetables while grilling. Spread 1/3 to half of the ricotta mixture over they layered vegetables. Cover the cheese, with a single layer of sliced tomatoes or part of your crushed tomatoes, sprinkle some salt over and scatter about 1/3 of the fresh basil. This is not a super tomatoey saucy version, so it doesn’t have to be a solid layer of crushed tomatoes, but a solid layer of sliced tomatoes is good.
Continue layering 2 more times if you have enough ingredients ending with the tomatoes as the top layer. Try to use the last of your basil under the tomatoes for the top layer so it doesn’t burn. Sprinkle a light layer of parmesan on top.
Cover loosely with another layer of paper and aluminum foil. Try to keep above the top so it doesn’t stick to the top layer.
Bake in a preheated 350*/190* for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake a few minute langer till bubbly and the top browned up.
Let the lasagna rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Usually even more flavorful the second day. You make it one day ahead before cooking.

Grilled Aubergine Parcels by Francesco Russo

Grilled Aubergine Parcels

These are delicious little Italian bundles of semi sun dried tomatoes, smoked mozarella, basil,wrapped in slices of aubergine.


2 large long aubergines
225 gr smoked mozarella or scamorza
200gr semi sun dried tomatoes
16 large basil leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

For the Dressing

4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp sun dried tomato paste
1 tbsp lime juice

For the Garnish

2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
torn basil leaves

Serves 4

1. Remove stalks from aubergines and cut them into slices about 5mm thick. Discard first and last slice.
2. Boil aubergine slices for about 2 minutes till softened then dry on kitchen paper.
3. Cut cheese into 8 slices, cut each semi sun dried tomato into eight slices, not including first and last slice.
4. Place 2 aubergine slices in a cross, put a slice of semi sun dried tomato in the centre, season with salt and pepper, add a basil leaf, a slice of mozarella, another basil leaf and another slice of semi sun dried tomato .
5. Fold the ends of the aubergine slice around the fillings to make a neat parcel.
Chill the parcels for about 20 minutes.
6. To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, sun dried tomato paste and lime juice. Season to taste.
7. Preheat grill, brush parcels with olive oil and cook for about 5 minutes each side until golden. Serve hot with the dressing, sprinkled with the toasted pine nuts and basil.

Always a success at dinner parties.

Sour Cream, Aubergine & Potato Gratin with Pecorino Cheese by Sarah Topps

Sour Cream, Aubergine & Potato Gratin with Pecorino Cheese

This dish is simple to make, delicious for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike and can be served as a whole meal or a side dish. It really is yummy and can easily be made in advance then baked just before you need to eat it!

Serves 4 as a main or 8 as a side dish.

5 tbsp olive oil
2 large aubergines cut into 1 cm slices
6 medium onions finely sliced
1 clove garlic (optional)
1 tsp soft brown sugar
1 kg potatoes (preferably Jersey Royal or similar), peeled
220g sour cream (home-made or shop bought)
2 tbsp finely chopped thyme
Butter for greasing dish
250g Pecorino or other strong cheese
300 ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the aubergines until golden.
2. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.
3. Reduce the heat and cook the onions & garlic with the sugar in the frying
pan for around 20 minutes until soft and caramelised stirring occasionally.
4. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a saucepan in salted water, bring to the
boil, cook for no more than 10 minutes (until still firm). Drain.
5. Preheat the oven to 425oF/ 220oC/ Gas mark 7
6. When the potatoes are cool enough, slice into 1cm thick slices.
7. Put them in a large bowl and coat with the sour cream and thyme. Season.
8. Butter a 2 litre oven-proof dish (we used an oblong one).
9. Cover the base with 1/2 the potatoes. Sprinkle over the onion mixture.
10 Layer the aubergines over the top and 2/3rds of the cheese.
11 Cover neatly with the rest of the potatoes and pour over vegetable stock.
12 Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and for extra taste grate a
little parmesan over.
13 Bake for 40 minutes until golden and bubbly.
14 Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes before eating.
15 Delicious served with a crisp green salad.
16 Enjoy! (we certainly did) and I’m now thinking of variations. A sprinkling of
walnuts or pine nuts on the top would be great too.

Aubergine, ricotta and tomato pesto roulade by Temple Perrotta

I have one more aubergine recipe but no picture (because I made it last summer).

Aubergine, ricotta and tomato pesto roulade

Slice the aubergine lengthwise and salt as usual.

Rinse and pat dry.

Brush each slice on both sides with a little olive oil and grill on a ridged cast iron grill so you get the grill marks.

Meanwhile soften dried tomatoes in hot water, drain and squeeze out excess moisture.

In a blender, make a pesto out of the tomatoes and olive oil to make it spreadable.

Take one slice of aubergine, spread a thin layer of tomato pesto on it and put a good sized dollop of fresh farmer’s ricotta.

Roll up the aubergine slice and place on a plate, seam side down.

Don’t cook it, just eat.

Great as part of an antipasto.

Aubergine “Lasagne” with mussels and smoked scamorza by Temple Perrotta

Aubergine “Lasagne”with mussels and smoked scamorza


Serves 6 as a starter or 4 as a main
2 large aubergines
1kg fresh mussels in their shells
g thinly pre-sliced smoked scamorza cheese
One cup total chopped onions, celery and parsley for the broth base
One cup white wine, flour and a little butter
Oil for cooking; olive oil q.b.

Wash, pat dry and trim the aubergines. Cut into 0.5cm slices and lightly salt; leave to drain for at least 1 hr. Clean and rinse the mussels; leave over the sink in a colander.
Rinse the aubergines and pat dry. Lightly flour and brush off any excess flour. Fry in hot oil, turning once, until soft inside and crispy golden outside; drain on paper towels. Set aside in a warm oven until assembly.
In a large pot, put in just enough olive oil to sauté the diced vegetables until soft; add the mussels and half the wine. Cover and cook on high heat until the mussels have opened, stirring gently once or twice. Off heat and drain the mussels, reserving the broth.
Pick the meat from the shells, discarding any that haven’t opened or are dry and shrivelled. Set aside.
Make a medium béchamel with strained broth and the rest of the wine.
Now assemble: in a baking dish, place a layer of aubergine, a sprinkling of mussels and a layer of sliced scamorza, covering this last with a thin layer of béchamel; repeat, ending with a layer of béchamel.
Bake in a 210° oven until the top is bubbling, about 12-14 minutes.
Comments: this dish is a lot tastier than it looks!

Fried eggplant on a bed of Lemony Chick Pea puree with rice by Amber

Fried eggplant on a bed of Lemony Chick Pea puree with rice

After my son’s fried things, we tried something else. My son liked this better. This was really yummy for being nothing big or inspiring. I’m just a boring home cook.


1 Large Eggplant, diced (large
1 tsp Cumin seeds,ground
1 tsp Za`tar
¼ tsp of hot pepper
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Greek Yogurt, Whipped.
Peanut Oil
Fry eggplant with seasonings. Set aside.

Lemony Chick pea puree
One jar of ceci
Juice and Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil (Abbondante!!)
Add above ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy. If thick, use liquid from chick peas. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Boiled rice according to package directions
Raisins to taste
Cumin to taste
Almonds or Pinoli to taste
Onion to taste
In a separate pan sauté onion, when soft, add the remaining ingredients and combine.
Serve Eggplant on bed of ceci puree with a dollop of Greek Yogurt. Rice on the side.

Eggplant Croquettes by Amber

Eggplant Croquettes

We eat eggplant all the time. I’m sick of all my usual recipes so I wanted to try something new. This flavors aren’t really new to us, but alas my son will eat anything fried so……….

1 large eggplant, chopped and baked until soft
Bechamel (20 grams each of flour and butter and 200mL of milk)
Half an onion, chopped and sauteed
Nutmeg to taste
S and P to taste
4 tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese
150 grams Prosciutto cotto, chopped
Handful of parsley
Flour, 1-2 Beaten Eggs and Bread crumbs
Frying oil (I used Peanut)
Yellow Pepper Salsa Marinated Eggplant Slices
1 Eggplant
1 Large Yellow Pepper
4 piccadilly Tomatoes
¼ of an onion chopped
Olive Oil to taste
White wine vinegar to taste
S and P to taste
Tomato sauce, already prepared hopefully

Make a thick Bechamel. Mash eggplant in a large bowl. Add Parsley, Prosciutto cotto, onion, salt and pepper. Add a spoon at a time of béchamel until it is slightly stiff, yet still creamy. Refrigerate until the batter is very cold, about a half an hour. Remove from fridge, form patties, pass through flour, then egg, then Bread crumbs and fry in already heated oil. (If the batter feels a little too runny, add some flour) Serve on a bed of already prepared tomato sauce or with a yellow pepper salsa.

For the salsa, thinly slice the eggplant, salt, and leave for an hour. Dry the eggplant, and grill the slices dry in a non-stick pan. Set aside. Chop tomatoes, peppers, onion and combine with Olive Oil, vinegar and S and P.

Fried aubergines with goat cheese and molasses by Giulia da Urbino

Fried aubergines with goat cheese and molasses

Cut the aubergines about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick, salt and let rest.
Pat dry, roll throughly in flour and deep fry in good extra vergin oil. Pat with paper to get rid of the extra oil.
Put a thin slice of your favourite goat cheese on top of each slice and top with 1/2 tsp molasses.

Mozzarella Aubergines by Giselle Stafford

Mozzarella Aubergines

Mozzarella Aubergines A store-cupboard type of recipe – minimum of ingredients and simplicity itself. Great snack, appetizer or side veg! Well, OK, this isn’t so much of a recipe as a ‘What have we got in the fridge that we can put together’ type of dish!


Olive Oil

1 Aubergine – nice and fresh

1 egg beaten in a wide dish

Breadcrumbs either shop bought or homemade

Finely chopped parsley

Rock salt & freshly ground black pepper.

1 ball mozzarella sliced.

Heavy based frying pan – always a plus in the kitchen!

What to do …

Slice the aubergine in about 5 ml slices.

Beat the egg in a wide dish.

Pour the breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, salt and pepper into another wide dish.

Heat olive oil over a med hot heat in the heavy based pan.

Dip the aubergine slices in the egg – both sides and shake off excess gently.

Press a slice of aub into the breadcrumb mix on one side, put a slice of mozzarella on the just egg side of the aub and then add another slice of aub on top.  Turn the parcel over and press the aub into the breadcrumbs and try and get around the edges of the ‘wheel’ too.

Repeat with the rest of the aubergine and mozzarella.

Fry up the parcels in batches.

When they are golden brown on both sides and a knife point goes through the flesh without any resistance – drain them on some kitchen paper and keep them warm.

When they’re all done – if there are any left (ours rarely get out the kitchen!)  – serve right away while they’re still crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle!

You can also just do these singly without the mozzarella.  Great to dip in a fresh tomato sauce!