Recipe

Ratatouille bake with cauliflower bechamel

Marvellous meat-free.

  • 1 hr 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 8
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This vegetarian ratatouille bake combines zucchini, eggplant, and shitaake mushrooms with a rich béchamel made from cauliflower and ricotta.
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Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 eggplants (600g)
  • 3 large zucchini (450g)
  • 200 grams fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 400 grams can diced tomatoes
  • 125 grams sun-dried tomatoes, chopped finely (see tips)
  • 1 cup (250ml) tomato passata
  • 1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock
  • ¾ cup (90g) walnuts, chopped finely
  • ¼ cup (20g) finely grated vegetarian parmesan-style cheese
Cauliflower bechamel
  • ¾ head cauliflower (750g), cut into florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, bruised
  • 1½ cups (375ml) vegetable stock
  • 375 grams fresh ricotta
  • ¾ cup (60g) finely grated vegetarian parmesan-style cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method

  • 1
    Preheat grill to high.
  • 2
    Make cauliflower bechamel. Place cauliflower, garlic and stock in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cook, covered, for 12 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Cool for 10 minutes. Blend with cheeses and nutmeg until smooth. Season.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, cut eggplants and zucchini lengthways into 4mm thick slices. Place eggplant, in batches, in a single layer, on a foil-lined oiled oven tray; brush with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season. Place eggplant under grill for 5 minutes each side or until golden. Repeat with zucchini and another 1 tablespoon of oil; grill for 3 minutes each side or until golden.
  • 4
    Preheat oven on 200°C.
  • 5
    Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat; cook mushrooms for 2 minutes. Add sage and paprika; cook for a further 3 minutes or until golden. Stir in canned and sun-dried tomatoes, passata, stock and walnuts; bring to a simmer. Simmer for 12 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Season to taste.
  • 6
    Spread a quarter of the cauliflower bechamel in a 2.5 litre (10-cup) oval or rectangular ovenproof dish; arrange a layer of grilled vegetables over. Top with another quarter of the bechamel. Spoon on half the tomato mixture. Repeat layering with grilled vegetables, bechamel and tomato mixture, finishing with bechamel. Top with parmesan; drizzle with remaining oil. Season.
  • 7
    Bake ratatouille mixture for 20 minutes or until top is golden and filling is warmed through. Stand for 10 minutes.
  • 8
    Serve half the ratatouille bake. Transfer remaining ratatouille bake to an airtight container; cool, then store.

Notes

Top with classic pesto; serve with simple green salad or lemony lettuce wedges alongside, if you like.Refrigerate ratatouille bake for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months; thaw in the fridge, then reheat in a microwave.

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