A Sunday night chuck it together kind of a lazy supper for one, to use up whatever you’ve got left in the fridge. I had a medium aubergine, a small courgette and some ricotta, as well as a jar of passata vellutata. You could say it was a very bastardised version of parmigiana alla melanzana, or you could just take it on its own merits and call it courgette, ricotta and aubergine rolls in tomato sauce. Or something else entirely. Whatever takes your fancy.
Slice the aubergine thin enough that you can roll it up once it’s been cooked, and drop it into a hot pan. Cook slowly on both sides until it’s soft. Meanwhile, dice the courgettes very finely. You can grate them if you have the means to do so, but I didn’t. It wasn’t a bad thing. It meant I concentrated on chopping them and left the aubergines alone to cook through, something I’m often too impatient to do.
When the courgettes are fine-diced, or grated, or whatever you want to do with them, put them in a bowl and grate black pepper onto them. Mix in a generous tablespoon of ricotta. Chuck in five or so mashed anchovies and a teaspoon of finely chopped salted capers (rinse them first) to give flavour. Mix everything about until it’s well combined.
By this time the aubergines should be done. Drop them onto a a plate and, if you value your fingertips, leave them there for a minute. When they’re cool enough to handle, spoon some of the courgette mixture into the middle of each slice of aubergine and roll them up. Place them, seam side down, in an ovenproof dish or tin into which you have already poured enough passata to cover the bottom thinly and stop the aubergines from sticking.
Pour over some more passata. I used half a 350g jar in total. Spread some ricotta over the top of the tomato-covered aubergine rolls and then sprinkle with a little dried oregano. Pop into the oven and forget about them for half an hour or so as you watch MilleVoci, or whatever other non-challenging Sunday night talent show is on. Pour yourself a glass of wine. You could catch up with your book, or you could just daydream and consider which combination of gelato flavours is best. (It’s coffee and cinnamon, by the way.)
When the smell of toasty-hot ricotta gets too much for you, pull the dish from the oven, transfer the aubergines onto a plate, and eat at will. Follow with coffee and a passeggiata with friends via the gelateria and you’ll be more than ready for whatever Monday morning throws at you.