Cheese and aubergine oven bake

Serve this vegetarian dish with sautéed leeks and a green, leafy salad.

Preparation time : 10 min Cooking time : 1h Servings : 4
Ingredients
  • 4 Tbs light olive oil
  • 1 medium onion - finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
  • 400 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs tomato purée
  • 1 Tbs dried mixed herbs
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • black pepper - to taste
  • 2 medium aubergines sliced
  • widthways into discs 1cm thick
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 100 g soft goats cheese
  • g or chopped mozzarella
  • 120 g goats cheddar or mature cheddar, grated
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves - roughly chopped
Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

First make the tomato sauce:
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and gently sauté the chopped onion until
softened and slightly golden brown in colour — about 8 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, mixed herbs, a small pinch of sea salt and some black pepper to taste. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce has thickened. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the soy sauce and a pinch of mixed herbs.

Lightly brush both sides of each aubergine slice with the olive oil mixture.

Sauté the slices in batches in a large non-stick frying pan, cooking for 3–4 minutes until golden brown.

Spread a third of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a medium baking dish. On top of this place a layer of aubergine slices and then spoon 1 teaspoon of tomato sauce over each aubergine disc.

Scatter with crumbled pieces of the soft goat’s cheese followed by a layer of aubergine.

Spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the aubergine slices and, finally, scatter the basil leaves and grated Cheddar on top.

Bake for 15–20 minutes, until the tomato sauce and cheese are bubbling and the cheese is lightly brown on top.

Reprinted with permission of Mary McCartney.