Baked ricotta and aubergine with spicy tomato sauce and pangritata 

Baked ricotta and aubergine with spicy tomato sauce and pangritata 

This three cheese aubergine dish is deliciously comforting and a lovely way to showcase homemade ricotta. You could use the shop-bought version, but I find homemade ricotta gives a better texture and flavour to the dish. It also holds its shape well, while the mozzarella forms a melted blanket on top of the aubergines and tomato sauce. 

If you’re not a fan of aubergine you could swap this for courgette, roasted peppers or even some thinly sliced potatoes (peel and parboil them first). But I think aubergine is the perfect sponge to soak up all that delicious flavour from the tomato sauce. 

‘Nduja is my secret weapon in this sauce. It’s a spicy spreadable Italian sausage that can be used to pep up so many different dishes. It’s great on pizzas, stirred into a bolognese sauce or with eggs and tomatoes in the Middle Eastern dish Shakshuka. To keep it veggie, leave out the ‘nduja – the sauce is equally good on its own. If you want a similar smoky or spicy kick you can add smoked paprika or chilli flakes. This sauce can also be used for a variety of different recipes. I like adding it to cannellini or butter beans for a spicy homemade baked beans. 

This is a great midweek meal, as both the tomato sauce and the pangritata can be made in advance. Both will keep for a few days in the fridge in airtight food containers, although the pangritata is best eaten on the day.

Baked ricotta and aubergine with spicy tomato sauce and pangritata

A comforting midweek meal showcasing the best of homemade ricotta
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: british, Italian
Keyword: cheese, ricotta, aubergine, tomatoes, ‘nduja
Servings: 4 people


  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium aubergines, sliced into 0.5cm rounds
  • 150 g ricotta
  • 30 g Parmesan, grated (or vegetarian alternative)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 ball mozzarella, sliced
  • Basil leaves – to finish

For the tomato sauce

  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 400 g fresh or tinned tomatoes (roughly chopped if using fresh)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 heaped tbsp ‘nduja (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the pangritata

  • Olive oil
  • 50g of bread (something like sourdough would work well)
  • 30 g pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes


  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas mark 6.
  • Mix the ricotta, grated parmesan, lemon juice and zest and dried oregano together in a bowl.
  • Brush the sliced aubergine rounds with a little olive oil on each side. Fry the aubergine slices in a griddle or non-stick pan over a medium heat for a few minutes each side. This will help them to cook in the oven rather than steam.
  • For the tomato sauce, add 3 tbsp olive oil to a pan over a medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the sliced onions and salt and cook for about 5-10 minutes. Stir regularly to make sure the onions colour evenly and don’t burn. Add the chopped garlic to the pan and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the fresh or tinned chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly. You want the tomatoes to reduce and become thick and saucy. Remove from the heat and blend with a stick blender. Add 50 ml olive oil, the ‘nduja (if using) and season with more salt (if needed) and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stir until everything is combined.
  • Add a layer of tomato sauce to an ovenproof dish, followed by a layer of aubergine. Repeat with the remaining sauce and aubergine. Top with the ricotta mixture and finish with the slices of mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the aubergines are soft and cheese has melted.
  • To make the pangritata, add everything but the pine nuts and olive oil to a food processor and blitz to make breadcrumbs. Add a large glug of olive oil to a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the breadcrumb mixture and pine nuts to the pan and cook until golden and toasted, stirring regularly to avoid them burning. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Remove the aubgerine dish from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes. Finish with the pangritata and fresh basil leaves.

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