Italian recipes: Involtini di Melanzane (Aubergine rolls)

Melanzane (Aubergines) are some of my favourite vegetables. This delicious recipe has been donated by the ASK Italian Cookbook out on 20th November 2012 whose sales will raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Makes 8 rolls, serves 4 / Prep: 35 minutes / Cook: 20 minutes

This quintessentially summer recipe was given to us by ASK Italian’s
extra virgin olive oil producers, the Esposito family. They live in Puglia, in
the heel of Italy, where the sun brings even aubergines incredible sweetness.

Add these rolls to a mixed platter of antipasti, or serve them alone with some
fresh mozzarella for a light summer lunch.

2 medium-large aubergines

ASK Italian extra virgin olive oil

90ml tomato passata

dried oregano

80g mozzarella, diced

8 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

30g Parmesan or caciocavallo cheese, grated

4 baby plum tomatoes, diced

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the aubergines lengthways into ½cm

slices; you should get about 8 good-sized slices. Salt them lightly and stand them in a colander to drip for 20 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large heavy frying pan until hot and gradually fry the aubergine
slices in the oil for 2 minutes on each side. If you can’t fit all the aubergines in one batch, add 2 tablespoons more oil to the pan before cooking the second batch.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. In a bowl, season the passata with a pinch of oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Lay each slice of aubergine out on a plate and spread a tablespoonful of the passata over it.

Dot with a few cubes of mozzarella, a torn basil leaf and a sprinkling of cheese.

Roll each slice of aubergine and arrange the rolls side by side in a shallow baking dish.

Bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot or cold, garnished with the plum tomatoes and a few sprigs of fresh basil.

Food experts at ASK Italian restaurants have revealed some of their own favourite recipes in a new cookbook which will raise vital funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Edited by prize-winning food writer Carla Capalbo with special recipes from TV chef and Italian cooking expert Theo Randall, the ASK Italian Cookbook contains over 100 authentic recipes that will inspire the reader to cook Italian food with confidence.

From hand-made fettuccine to perfect risottos and indulgent desserts, the book contains some of the most popular dishes from the ASK Italian menu. It also features personal recipes from ASK Italian’s suppliers in Italy, from Theo Randall and Carla Capalbo, and from members of the ASK Italian team. Adrian Garforth MW (Master of Wine) has offered Italian wine matching tips to accompany the food.

The book also includes anecdotes about Italian food from celebrity friends of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity including Dame Helen Mirren, Claudia Winkleman, Ronni Ancona, Flavia Cacace and Gino D’Campo.

The ASK Italian Cookbook edited by Carla Capalbo with special recipes by Theo Randall, can be purchased from ASK Italian restaurants for £10. £4 from each sale will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and help fund the dining rooms, play areas and kitchen within the hospital’s new Surgery Centre, due to open in 2016. The book will be available from 20 November 2012.

The book can also be purchased from bookshops and other third party retailers with a minimum of £1 going towards the charity.

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