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Aubergine (Eggplant) Cake

ingredients

serves 4
1 aubergine (eggplant), sliced thinly
5 tbsp olive oil
250 g (8 oz) short pasta shapes, such as fusilli
60 g (2 oz) 1/4 cup butter, plus extra for greasing
45 g (1 1/2 oz) 6 tbsp flour
300 ml (1/2 pint) 1 1/4 cups milk
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup single (light) cream
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup chicken stock
large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
90 g (3 oz) 3/4 cup mature (sharp) Cheddar, grated
30 g (1 oz) 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
Lamb Sauce (see below)
salt and pepper
artichoke heart and tomato salad, to serve

method

1. Put the aubergine (eggplant) slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave for about 45 minutes. Rinse under cold, running water and drain. Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Fry the aubergine (eggplant) slices for about 4 minutes each side, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the pasta is almost tender, drain it in a colander and return to the pan. Cover and keep warm.

4. Melt the butter in a small pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually pour in the milk, stirring all the time, then stir in the cream and chicken stock. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the Cheddar and remove from the heat. Pour half the sauce over the pasta and mix well. Reserve the remaining sauce.

5. Grease a shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon in half the pasta, cover it with half the lamb sauce and then with the aubergines (eggplant) in a single layer. Repeat the layers of pasta and lamb sauce and spread the remaining cheese sauce over the top. Sprinkle the Parmesan. Bake in the preheated oven, 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5, for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot or cold, with artichoke heart and tomato salad.

lamb sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
500 g (1 lb) lean lamb, minced (ground)
3 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
150 g (5 oz) bottled sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion and celery until the onion is translucent. Add the lamb and fry, stirring frequently, until it browns.

2. Stir in the tomato puree, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, vinegar and stock. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Bring to the boil and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the meat has absorbed the stock. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

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