That Italian Gateau I promised! 1st October 2016.

I don’t know where the time is going – but I’m not going to bed without posting this recipe – it is so divine – and it was such a hassle that I had to take out a few steps to make it a bit easier – tired as I am at the moment with work I still found time to make this – have a go – you will not be sorry!

This is also the perfect dish for that vegetarian friend who always says she’ll just eat the veg on the side and not to cook anything special for her. She will feel like the most special person in the world if you make this! It is an ideal dinner party dish – can be made ahead and frozen then defrosted and cooked. I also freeze portions for busy weekdays when cooking is way down the list after ballet, violin, acro-dance and God knows what else!

There are a few steps to this recipe. I will divide it as the work is divided so it’s easier to follow.

Italian Gateau

Ingredients

  • 3 courgettes – thinly sliced and left to drain with salt on, in a colander – put kitche roll over and under to soak the liquid
  • 50 gms fine coconut flour – spread thinly on a dinner plate
  • 5 eggs whisked lightly and put in a wide pasta type bowl
  • 250 gms grated parmesan – spread out on a dinner plate
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat some oil in a pan at medium temp. Lightly coat the courgette slices in the flour – or not – it makes the egg stick better. Then dip it in the egg and put it onto the plate of parmesan and coat the pieces. Place on the pan and cook until the coating is crispy and lightly brown – it doesn’t matter if it is a little browner but I prefer it golden rather than very dark. Turn and do the same on the other side. Remove and put on a plate with kitchen roll on to soak the grease. Repeat, adding oil as needed until all is cooked.

  • 400mls passata
  • garlic to taste – I use the paste
  • 2/3 tsps good quality pesto – more if you love it

Put passata and garlic paste in a saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Turn the heat off and add the pesto. Stir well.

  • 4/5 red peppers – I like red!

Place the peppers in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the skins crisp up. Turn oven off and leave the peppers in the oven for a while longer – this helps to get the skins to loosen. If I have time I sometimes cut them and take the seeds out before cooking them – but either way is fine. I don’t use any oil on them for this. When they are cool enough to hold peel the skins off and discard all but the flesh of the peppers. Leave to one side and drain off the water that comes off them before using.

  • 2 Mozzarella balls – about 250 gms net weight – two pkts of the Lidl one.
  • Basil plant
  • A second packet of grated parmesan – only about 75 gms of it needed

Now the fun starts. you have to assemble all the different parts. Put oven on to 150 degrees celsius  – mine is a fan oven. then place a layer of courgettes on the base of a lasagne dish. Add a layer of ripped up basil leaves, a layer of the peppers, a layer of mozzarella sliced from the ball and then a layer of the tomato sauce. Repeat. Cover with a final layer of courgette and sprinkle with parmesan and put into the oven for about half an hour – maybe forty minutes – keep an eye and you can judge. They say in the original recipe to weight it down before cooking – nah! Too much trouble. They use both aubergines and courgette – I use whichever I have – I don’t often have aubergine lying around so I don’t always use it – I think I prefer it without in fact.

There you have it. It does take a good bit of work but honestly- and I’m a person who doesn’t like long laborious recipes – this one is worth the hour or so it takes – and it’s all in small easy steps that you can leave and come back to.

The courgette fried in the oil is so nice that I ate a load of it just like that for my tea yesterday.

Leave to cool and then slice into pieces and freeze till you need it. I made about 8 good portions out of this amount.

Have a go and tell me how you get on.

Orla