I love being a little family; having Lu has filled our life with so much joy and I can’t believe she is now close to seven months old. How time disappears!! And yes, it has been far too long between recipes here on Veggie num num, once again!
I really need to get my cooking and blogging groove back and here for you all today is a very simple and tasty family veggie recipe. Risoni is a lovely ingredient with a great texture that’s perfect for a pasta bake. A simple tomato sauce brings together the wonderful smoky flavour of grilled eggplant with oregano and fresh roasted tomatoes.
It’s a quick and super simple vegetarian recipe perfect for a mid week family meal. Try zucchini or capsicum (bell peppers) instead of the eggplant if you prefer and be sure to use lovely sweet cherry tomatoes for the very best flavour. Add a vegetarian feta or parmesan cheese if you like for a melty, gooey, cheesy topping. Serve up with crusty bread and enjoy with love from our kitchen to yours :)
Preparation time: 55mins
- 1 large celery stick, finely diced
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ cups risoni
- 3½ cups vegetable stock
- 3 cups passata
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and squashed (optional)
- 3-4 Lebanese eggplants, halved lengthways
- 2 tbs olive oil
- ½-1 tsp harissa paste (optional)
- 4-5 whole cherry tomatoes
- a few slices of red onion
- sprigs of fresh oregano
Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F
Fry the diced celery and carrot in a little olive oil over a medium heat until softened. Add the garlic and fry for a minute more.
Add the risoni, stock, passata, tomato paste and bay leaf. Increase heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile combine the olive oil and harissa in a small bowl. Brush the cut side of the eggplant with the harissa and olive oil mixture.
Heat a small amount of oil in a grill pan, barbeque or frying pan. Place the eggplant on the grill cut side down and brush with remaining harissa and olive oil mixture. Grill eggplant over a medium/high heat until golden then turn and repeat on the other side. Remove from the grill and set aside.
Remove the bay leaf and transfer the risoni mixture into a large casserole dish (there should still be a reasonable amount of liquid at this stage). Top with slices of grilled eggplant, tuck in the whole cherry tomatoes and scatter over the slices of onion and sprigs of oregano. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and vegetables nicely roasted.
Enjoy as a lovely warming family meal with crusty bread.
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