Leek, Aubergine and Tomato Gratins

This dish is simpler to make than a vegetarian lasagne, but just as tasty.

Serves 4
Ready in 55 minutes

Ingredients:
1 large aubergine, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large leek, trimmed and halved widthways then cut into strips
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
600g bottle passata (sieved tomatoes)
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g ricotta cheese
150g mozzarella cheese, sliced

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas Mark 7. Brush the aubergine slices with 2 tbsp of the oil. Heat a large cast-iron griddle pan and cook the slices (in batches) for 1-2 minutes on each side until lightly charred and just tender. Set aside.

Blanch the leeks in a large pan of lightly salted water for 1 minute then refresh under cold water. Drain well and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes then add the garlic and fry for a further 1-2 minutes.

Add the passata, tomato puree, oregano and sugar and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until reduced and thickened, stirring frequently. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spread some of the sauce in the base of four shallow individual gratin dishes. Cover with half the aubergine and leek then spread more tomato sauce on top. Crumble over the ricotta cheese. Cover with the rest of the aubergine and remaining sauce. Top with the mozzarella and the remaining leeks. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve with crusty bread and green salad.

Add some crunch: Top with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan (or vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese) mixed with brown breadcrumbs before baking to give a lovely golden crispy crust to the finished dishes.

Author: Jake

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