Make meat-free meals a weekly event for your family. Underneath the crispy topping, these scrumptious vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). Heat the oil in a small, heavybased saucepan. Cook the onion for 5 minutes over a medium heat, until softened, but not brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Then add the tomatoes and parsley, season well, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30–40 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and reduced. Remove from the heat and add the chopped basil.
Rub the peppers with a little oil and cook in the oven for 25–30 minutes, turning them over occasionally, until they have softened and the skin has blistered in parts. Transfer them to a heatproof bowl and cover tightly with cling film. Remove the cling film after 5 minutes and drain off any water, carefully as it will be hot. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, deseed and skin them, leaving them in large pieces.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Brush the aubergine slices with a little oil and chargrill for two minutes on each side, until they have scorch marks and are softened, but not cooked through. Do the same with the courgettes and set aside.
For the topping, place the bread, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil in a food processor and season well with pepper and a little salt, as the Parmesan will be salty. Process the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
To assemble the bake, grease a 20cm (8in) square baking dish with a little oil and place half the aubergines at the bottom. Cover them with half the peppers, and then half the courgettes. Spread over half the tomato and basil sauce and top it with the mozzarella slices. Repeat the process with the remaining vegetables, finishing with the last of the tomato sauce.
Spread the breadcrumb topping over and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy. If the topping begins to over brown, cover the dish loosely with foil, but remove the foil for the final five minutes of cooking time, to crisp up the top. Remove from the oven.
Complete Family Nutrition, by Jane Clarke, published by DK, £16.99, dk.com
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