Sunday, 9 January 2011
Aubergine and Parmesan Involtini
Aubergines are very much one of those love or hate foods. Some people are not fond of the taste and some of the texture, I must admit that undercooked solid aubergine is one of the most repugnant things I've ever eaten. When done right though I love it, and most often this is sliced thinly, brushed with good olive oil and grilled both sides before being sprinkled with salt, a little garlic oil and something delicious like chopped fresh herbs, a finely chopped red chilli or crumbled feta cheese. This is pretty much the only way I ever eat them aside from in a moussaka, so when I saw them in the veg aisle yesterday I snapped one up and challenged myself to come up with something new.
It was actually while reading that I was inspired to make this recipe when someone mentioned involtini (meaning "little bundles") - thin slices of beef wrapped around a filling usually including parmesan cheese, nuts and breadcrumbs. I'm sure I have seen someone doing it with aubergine slices before, probably my beloved Nigella, but I wanted my filling to be a little different with a slightly sharper taste to contrast the nicely bland wrapping. If I want to add sharpness to something, I inevitably add balsamic vinegar. I have a big thing for its sweet tartness and glug it into most soups I make, and also drizzle it over filled pastas with a little extra virgin olive oil.
This recipe is for one as a main meal or would make a nice starter for two people along with a little baby spinach salad on the side. It is vegetarian, but if you are a determined carnivore like my boyfriend you could always go the traditional way using beef or pork slices rather than the aubergine.
Aubergine and Parmesan Involtini
60g glutinous rice (such as arborio or sushi rice)
200ml hot water
1/2 stock cube of your choice
1 tsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
6 mushrooms, finely diced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp parmesan, grated
1 aubergine, sliced lengthways about 3/4 cm thick
2 tbsp olive oil
Place the rice, water and stock cube in a saucepan over a medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes until the rice is cooked through and of a risotto like texture. Set aside.
In a seperate saucepan heat the oil, onion, garlic and rosemary until the onion is translucent and softened, then add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Now add the balsamic vinegar, stir in well and then add the butter, stirring until melted in and combined. Remove from the heat, add the rice and parmesan and mix well before setting aside while you grill the aubergines.
Brush the remaining olive oil over both sides of the aubergine slices and cook pereferably on either a grill pan or on a health grill to get the desired char lines. If you don't have either of these don't worry, just use a frying pan but don't add any more oil. The aubergine is cooked when the flesh has darkened in colour and the slices have become soft and flexible.
When cooked, place a heaped spoonfull of the rice mixture onto one end of an aubergine slice and gently rolls it up. Lay onto your plate join side down and spritz with a squirt of lemon juice just before serving.