Vegetable crumble

Pine nuts are available from health food stores and Italian food shops, but nibbed almonds may be used. For the best flavour, buy a whole piece of Parmesan and grate it yourself at home when needed. Tightly wrapped in cling film or foil it will keep its flavour for several weeks in the refrigerator. Special graters for this hard cheese can be bought from some kitchen and hardware shops.
If you do not want to go to the trouble of grating the cheese yourself, buy freshly grated Parmesan from an Italian delicatessen; do not buy packets or tubs of grated Parmesan from a supermarket for this dish.


serves 4
2 leeks, cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) slices
2 tablespoons olive oil or sunflower oil
2 large carrots, thickly sliced
1 small red pepper, deseeded and diced
500 g (1 lb) courgettes, cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) slices
400 g (14 oz) can tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
25 - 50 g (1 - 2 oz) pine nuts
2 teaspoons wine vinegar

crumble topping

100 g (4 oz) plain or wholewheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
40 g (1 1/2 oz) butter, diced
65 g (2 1/2 oz) fresh Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the leeks and carrots and fry over moderate heat for 5 minutes,
stirring. Add the red pepper and fry for 5 minutes, then add courgettes and fry for a further 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan with the basil and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and make the crumble: sift the flour and salt into a
bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour with the fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in 50 g (2 oz) of the Parmesan, and add pepper to taste.

4. Add the pine nuts and vinegar to vegetables, then transfer to a 1.5 litres (2 1/2 pint) casserole. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over vegetables, then top with remaining Parmesan.

5. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, until golden.

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Parmesan cheese tip from Italy
posted by energysaving-tips.com @ 08:21AM, 11/09/11
My mother-in-law gave me a great tip for keeping Parmesan fresh: buy a whole piece, grate it and keep in the freezer (when frozen it forms into a block but once crumbled remains easily manageable). Take out only as much as needed each time and do not re-freeze once thawed.
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