This is a really tasty vegetarian recipe that can hold its ownn as a main dish, with layers of aubergine, tomatoey lentils and creamy ricotta cheese wrapped in a pastry crust. Don’t worry about leftovers; this pie is delicious served cold the following day.
FOR THE WALNUTTY PASTRY
400g plain flour, plus a little for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
60g Parmesan cheese, grated
100g butter, chilled and diced
2 medium eggs, beaten, plus a beaten egg
3 tbsp ice-cold water
FOR THE FILLING
1/2 quantity (about 450g) Spiced Tomato Sauce (see below)
250g Puy lentils (we like the Merchant Gourmet pouches), cooked and drained
1 large aubergine
Olive oil, for brushing
200g ricotta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 To make the pastry, pulse the flour, salt, walnuts and Parmesan in a food processor until the ingredients are evenly mixed and the walnuts are finely chopped. Add the butter and pulse again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the beaten eggs and ice-cold water and pulse until the mixture just comes together to form a dough, adding a tiny bit more water if you think it’s needed.
2 Tip out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead very briefly to bring the pastry together. Don’t worry if it’s a little crumbly. Divide into two balls, then flatten into discs, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, if you haven’t already made the Spiced Tomato Sauce, do so according to the method on page 203 and let it cool down. Stir in the lentils.
4 On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the pastry to about 3mm thick and trim to a 25cm square. Then roll out the other half in the same way, trimming it to a 30cm square. Put a piece of non-stick baking paper between the layers and return the pastry to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes. Don’t be tempted to skip this step – it will help prevent any shrinkage in the oven.
SPICED TOMATO SAUCE
MAKES ABOUT 600 ML
2 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 Heat the olive oil in a large shallow pan over a gentle heat. Add the onions and cook them for 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and spices to the pan, and cook, stirring, for a couple more minutes.
2 Pour over the tomatoes and add the salt and sugar. Stir well, then simmer gently, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until slightly syrupy in consistency. The sauce can be kept, covered, in the fridge for up to a week.
Recipe taken from Higgidy The Cookbook