This classic combination of the vegetables that grow abundantly in the south of France is infinitely flexible. Use the recipe as a guide for making the most of what you have on hand.
2 aubergines, about 450g/1lb total,
cut into 2cm/3/4in slices
60-75ml/4-5 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 or 3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 large red or yellow pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 large courgettes, cut into 1cm/1/2in slices
675g/11/2lb ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
5ml/1 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and ground black pepper
1 Preheat the grill. Brush the aubergine slices with oil on both sides. Grill until lightly browned, turning once, then cut into chunks.
2 Heat 15ml/1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole and cook the onion for about 10 minutes until lightly golden, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, pepper and courgettes and cook for a further 10 minutes.
3 Add the tomatoes, aubergine, dried herbs and salt and pepper. Simmer gently, covered, over a low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and continue cooking for a further 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are tender and the cooking liquid has thickened slightly. Serve hot or at room temperature, if you prefer.
Saturated fat 1.2g
Fiber (NSP) 1.9g
Risotto with Spring Vegetables
This is one of the prettiest risottos, especially if you can get yellow courgettes.
150g/5oz/1 cup shelled fresh peas
115g/4oz/1 cup French beans, cut into short lengths
30ml/2 tbsp olive oil
75g/3oz/6 tbsp butter
2 small yellow courgettes, cut into matchsticks
1 onion, finely chopped
275g/10oz/11/2 cups risotto rice
120ml/4fl oz1/2 cup Italian dry white vermouth (optional)
about 1 liter/13/4 pints/4 cups boiling chicken stock
75g/3oz/1 cup grated Parmesan cheese a small handful of fresh basil leaves, finally shredded, plus a few whole leaves, to garnish.
salt and ground black pepper
1 Blanch the peas and beans in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Drain, refresh under cold running water, drain and set aside.
2 Heat the oil and 25b/1oz/2 tbsp of the butter in a medium saucepan until foaming. Add the courgettes and cook gently for 2-3 minutes or until just softened. Remove the courgettes with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook gently for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.
3 Stir in the rice until the grains start to swell and burst, then add the vermouth, if using. Stir until the vermouth stops sizzling and most of it has been absorbed by the rice, then add a few ladlefuls of the stock, with salt and pepper to taste. Stir over low heat until the stock has been absorbed.
4 Continue cooking and stirring for 20-25 minutes, adding the remaining stock a few ladlefuls at a time. The rice should be at dente and the risotto should have a moist and creamy appearance. Gently stir in the vegetables and the remaining butter.
5 Stir in half the Parmesan. Heat through, then stir in the shredded basil and taste for seasoning. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with the remaining Parmesan handed separately.