A flavoursome veggie dish from Celia Brooks
Choose plump aubergines with roughly the same circumference as your ramekins, but remember that they shrink a lot when cooked. The smoky pesto has a dazzling flavour, and can be used as a sauce for gluten-free pasta or spaghetti squash.
2 large aubergines (approx 500g total)
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
50g watercress or rocket leaves, to garnish
For the smoky pesto:
1 tsp smoked paprika / pimenton
A bunch of basil (approx 20g)
50g pine nuts
1 clove of garlic
30g fresh parmesan, grated
3 tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Slice the aubergines into 1cm thick discs. Mix the garlic with some olive oil in a cup and brush both sides of the aubergines. Place on a baking tray and distribute the sliced garlic on top of them. Season with salt and pepper and bake until soft and barely golden, 20-30 mins. Leave to cool.
Make the pesto by pureeing everything in the food processor, adding the olive oil at the end. Taste for seasoning.
Brush the ramekins lightly with olive oil and place an aubergine slice in each one. Top with about 1 tbsp ricotta, a generous spoonful of pesto, then another aubergine slice. Continue with another layer of ricotta, pesto, then aubergine. (Some pieces may be smaller than others, so use as many pieces of aubergine as necessary to fill the layer.)
Place the ramekins on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 mins until sizzling. Cool briefly before inverting: either place a serving plate upside-down on top of each timbale and flip over, or place a tart tin base or similar (something flat with no rim) on top of the timbale, flip over, and slide onto plates. Scatter rocket or watercress leaves around the timbales to serve.
Recipe: Celia Brooks from Low-Fat & Gluten-Free Vegetarian (Pavilion)
Image: Clare Winfield