Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 11, 2017

© Yvonne Duivenvoorden

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Grilled Vegetable Sformato

This layered sformato is pretty and filling enough to be a main dish

3 large yellow bell peppers, or jarred roasted yellow peppers
½ c. (125 ml) olive oil
2 large eggplants, thinly sliced lengthwise
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. (500 ml) ricotta cheese
6 oz. (180 g) Romano cheese, shredded
4 oz. (125 g) Fontina cheese, shredded
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) salt
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) freshly cracked black pepper
1½ c. (375 ml) fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
3 cloves garlic, peeled
½ c. (125 ml) pistachios, shelled
1 c. (250 ml) sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) cayenne pepper
1½ c. (375 ml) whole wheat penne, cooked
½ c. (125 ml) dry breadcrumbs
Basil leaves

Preheat the broiler or barbecue grill and roast the bell peppers until skins are blackened. Place in a small airtight container and close tightly to steam for 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel, dice, and drain the peppers in a mesh colander, pressing out excess moisture. (If using jarred peppers, drain, rinse and chop them.)

Brush an 11-inch (28-cm) springform pan with some of the olive oil, then set aside. Heat a grill pan or use the grill. Brush the eggplant with olive oil. Grill the slices until tender and decorated with black grill marks (running lengthwise), 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Put a small slice in the center of the springform pan. Lay slices in a fan or flower design covering the bottom and sides and leaving an inch (2.5 cm) or so hanging over the edges to wrap around the top of the filled pan.

In a large bowl, mix ricotta, eggs, cheeses, salt and pepper. Remove half of the mixture to another bowl. Use a food processor to finely grind the basil, garlic and pistachios, then mix with half of the cheese mixture. Dice the tomatoes and add to the other half of the cheese mixture, then mix in the cayenne. Divide the cooked pasta between the 2 bowls and fold the contents of each bowl together gently.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Into the eggplant-lined pan, sprinkle 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the breadcrumbs and distribute the pasta and tomato mixture. Level the surface and top with yellow bell peppers and another 2 tablespoons (30 ml) crumbs. Top with remaining pasta mixture, level, and cover with the remaining crumbs. Fold the overhanging eggplant back onto the top of the peppers.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes and let stand for 20 minutes before serving to firm up. Run a sharp knife around edge of pan. Invert pan onto a serving plate and release springform, carefully removing bottom. Garnish with the basil and serve. It can be made a day ahead and reheated, or a few weeks ahead and frozen, then thawed overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven at 350°F (180°C).

Serves 8.

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