Castelluccio lentil and aubergine stew
This recipe is a twist on Ottolenghi’s creation combining the simple ingredients of aubergines and lentils in a unique way. It is perfect for enjoying those last aubergines of the season. You enjoy it as a standalone supper or serve it with some toasted sourdough bruschetta for a heartier meal.
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for serving – we used Il Sincero from Marco Viola, monocultivar Moraiolo, full of decisive pepperiness.
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely diced
4 tsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 small aubergines (about 420g in total), cut into chunks
200g cherry tomatoes
180g castelluccio lentils – you can replace with puy lentils if you can’t find castelluccio
500ml vegetable stock
80ml dry white wine
100g creme fraiche
1 tsp urfa chilli flakes (or ½ tsp regular chilli flakes)
Heat half the oil in a large, high-sided pan on a medium flame. Add the garlic, onion, half the oregano and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and fry for around 5 minutes, stirring often, until soft and golden, then tip into a small bowl.
Put the aubergines and cherry tomatoes in a separate bowl and season with a quarter-teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. On a medium-high flame, heat the two remaining tablespoons of oil in the same pan (don’t bother wiping it clean) and, once it’s very hot, fry the aubergines and tomatoes for 10 minutes, turning them often, until the aubergine is soft and golden-brown and the tomatoes are beginning to blacken.
Return the garlic and onion mixture to the pan, then add the lentils, stock, wine, half a litre of cold water and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to medium and leave to simmer gently for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are soft but still retain a bite (after this time, there will still be some liquid at the bottom of the pan, but that’s fine).
Serve the stew warm topped with a spoonful of creme fraiche, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkling of the urfa chilli and the remaining chopped oregano leaves.