On less organized week nights, I cook on the fly. I have no idea what we’re eating until I peer at the potential components and items start beaming at me or doing little dances on their shelves (the cinnamon is particularly good at this trick). This midweek dinner arrived after an unplanned grocery shop and from a pantry that we’re clearing out before a change of home. In other words, stepping out of the car tonight after our working days, we were arriving at Guess-ville for supper.
I composed this warm and comforting lasagna inspired meal acting on the craving for a little Italian tonight. The basil covered baked Roma tomatoes were studded with little balls of goats cheese, topped with a butternut cream and roofed with bell pepper tiles. On a day when the local weather service has informed us that five or six layers of clothes were recommended to go outdoors, it was a plate of pure pleasure.
Half a small butternut (the bulbous part) peeled and halved.
6 Roma tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
3oz (75g) soft goats cheese
6 halves sun dried tomatoes
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
12 fresh basil leaves
Preheat your oven to 400F/205C.
Halve the Roma tomatoes and place them, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for one hour.
Rub coconut oil into the butternut and place, cut side down on a baking sheet. This will soften beautifully in about 45 minutes.
Place your sun dried tomatoes in hot water to reconstitute.
Place the bell peppers in the oven, whole and with the stem still in place. After ten minutes, turn them with some tongs. After another 15 minutes, pull them out and place in a glass bowl. Cover the bowl immediately with cling film and leave to steam for 10 further minutes. Peel, then slice each bell pepper into three segments, removing the seeds as you go.
Mince the rosemary and thyme with the reconstituted sun dried tomatoes. Place in a medium sized glass bowl. Pull the butternut from the oven and place on chopping board. Coarsely chop, then add to the herbs in the the bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend until integrated, smooth and creamy. Stir in the cinnamon.
Plate the tomatoes cut sides up on the plate (I made this two halves wide, three halves long on each plate). Add some goats cheese to their slightly dehydrated middles and place a basil leave atop each half. Place a scoop of the butternut cream across each pair of tomatoes (three scoops per plate) and cover each scoop with a slice of the red bell pepper. Top with more flecks of the goats cheese and serve.