Ricotta, Nettle and Aubergine Bake

Ingredients – for the layers

 

1 ½ medium aubergines

Olive oil

 

Ingredients – for the filling:

 

250g brown lentils (soaked for a few hours or overnight)

1 large onion, diced

1 tin of chopped tomatoes or 6-8 fresh

Nettle infusion, vegetable stock or bone broth

2 medium carrots, grated

1 beetroot, grated

1-2 sticks of celery, diced

½ head of garlic or big bunch of wild garlic, finely chopped

Fresh or dried culinary herbs of your choice e.g. basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, winter savoury, parsley, sage….

Salt and pepper

 

Ingredients – for the topping

 

I batch of goat’s ricotta (see prev. recipe)/store bought ricotta/vegan cheese

A handful (after cooking!) of blanched and finely chopped nettles (I use a food processor).
A handful of chopped chives/wild garlic/3 cornered leek

  

Method

  1. Make a strong nettle infusion with the tops of fresh nettles and then pulverise the whole lot in a food processor/blender (with the water).

  2. Leave to infuse for a further 20 mins, then strain, pressing out most of the liquid and reserve the liquid for later.

 

Make your filling:

  1. Add a glug of olive oil to a heavy bottomed pan. Sweat off the onion, carrot, beetroot, celery, then add garlic.

  2. Once the veg is translucent throw in your lentils, tomatoes, stock (or nettle infusion). I tend to do this by eye and keep checking the consistency during cooking. Think bolognaise consistency.

  3. Add your herbs, salt and pepper. Cook until the lentils are soft but not dissolved.

  4. Slice your aubergines into rounds and brush with olive oil then grill or pan fry on both sides until tender.

  5. Layer up! Pour the filling into a casserole pot with lid or a roasting tray/oven proof dish, then arrange your aubergines on top.

  6. Mix the ricotta or vegan cheese with the chopped nettles and chives and smooth over the top of the aubergines. Cover with tin foil or the pot lid.

  7. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 mins then remove the lid and cook for a further 10-15 mins.