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Cover: Gluten free cooking

Recipes with parmesan

19Apr 12

Baked Aubergine Parmesan with Tofu Pesto

Baked aubergine parmesan with tofu pestoThis baked aubergine parmesan with tofu pesto has got to be one of my all-time favourite comfort foods.  Filled with lots of cheese and literally dripping with sauce, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it.  If you’re not a fan of aubergine (like my son) you could substitute it for courgette, wild mushrooms or even a mix of vegetables.

You Need:

For the baked aubergine:

  • 1kg aubergines
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 750ml tomato sauce
  • 300g mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 250g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

For the tofu pesto:

  • 125g firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 500g fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 125g fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Peel the aubergine and slice into 1cm thick pieces.
  3. Sprinkle salt on each side and drain on kitchen towels for about 20 minutes.
  4. Turn the pieces over and drain on the other side for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
  5. Drizzle the oil on the aubergine and then grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
  6. Combine the oregano and tomato sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Pour a small amount on the bottom of a 23cm x 30cm pan.
  7. Arrange a layer of aubergine along the bottom of the pan, cover with some sauce and the shredded mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Continue layering until you have used all the aubergine, sauce and cheese, ending with the cheese.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, or until the cheese is bubbly.
  9. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  10. While the aubergine is baking, prepare the pesto topping.  Combine all the ingredients in a blender, starting with the liquid ingredients at the bottom to facilitate blending.  Process on medium speed until the pesto is very smooth. (Click here for another pesto sauce recipe.)
  11. Pour the pesto sauce over the baked aubergine and serve immediately.

Note: Some people like pesto more than others, and so I often put the pest in a bowl on the side so that my guests can serve themselves according to personal preference.

Ready In:  75 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:   2 out of 5

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31Mar 12

Pesto-Filled Cherry Tomatoes

Pesto-filled TomatoesWhether you’re having a few friends over for drinks, or throwing an all-out party with lots of guests, these pesto-filled cherry tomatoes are a great bite-sized appetiser that are quick and easy to prepare and sure to be a hit with your guests. I’m a big fan of pesto myself ever since I first tried pesto linguine at a local Italian restaurant years ago.

I love tomato stuffed peppers, but they fill me up. The size of these cherry tomatoes make them delicious and perfect as an appetiser or snack.

The taste is so sublime that it’s hard to believe how simple it is to make.  Some recipes call for leaving some of the pine nuts whole, but I prefer to grind them all up.  In any case, for this recipes that’s definitely the best idea, since there’s not very much room inside the tiny cherry tomatoes and the whole nuts would just get in the way.  Also, the best thing about this appetiser is the way you can just pop them in your mouth and swallow almost without even having to chew.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try sprinkling a little Parmesan cheese on top and sticking them in the oven or under the grill for a few minutes for an au gratin effect.  Whatever you do, make sure you have more ingredients at hand because these tend to disappear quite fast and your guests will soon be clamouring for more.

You Need:

  • 50 cherry tomatoes, washed
  • 500ml fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 250ml grated Parmesan cheese
  • 60ml pine nuts
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Combine the garlic, pine nuts and basil and mix for a few seconds with a food processor or blender.
  2. Add the olive oil and blend for a few more seconds.
  3. Add the Parmesan cheese and blend again.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Set aside the mixture.
  6. Cut the tops off the cherry tomatoes and remove about two-thirds of the pulp.
  7. Fill the hollowed out tomatoes with the pesto.
  8. Serve on a serving platter as an hors d’oeuvre.

Ready In: 15 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

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