Delia

Oven-roasted Ratatouille and Mozzarella Strudel with Parmesan and Pecans

Filo pastry is made ready to use, so no tedious rolling out and all that buttery, wafer-thin crunchiness is guaranteed. This filling makes a very special strudel, perfect for entertaining. Vegetarians might like to know that a vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese is available from www.bookhamcheese.co.uk


Serves 6

This recipe comes from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection.

Oven-roasted Ratatouille and Mozzarella Strudel with Parmesan and Pecans
Ingredients
For the strudel:
 four 18 x 11 inch (45 x 28 cm) sheets of frozen filo pastry, defrosted
 4 oz (110 g) mozzarella, cubed
 3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan (see intro)
 4 oz (110 g) pecan nuts
 3 oz (75 g) butter
For the oven-roasted ratatouille:
 2 medium courgettes
 1 small aubergine
 1 lb (450 g) ripe plum tomatoes, or any other ripe, red tomatoes
 1 small red pepper, deseeded and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) squares
 1 small yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) squares
 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped into 1 inch (2.5 cm) squares
 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
 a handful of torn fresh basil leaves, about ½ oz (10 g)
 1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
 3 tablespoons olive oil
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
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Equipment
You will also need a 16 x 12 inch (40 x 30 cm) shallow roasting tray and a large baking sheet measuring 16 x 12 inches (40 x 30 cm), greased, and some baking parchment.

Method

First, you need to roast the vegetables. Prepare the courgettes and aubergine ahead of time by cutting them into 1 inch (2.5 cm) dice, leaving the skins on.

Now place them in a colander and mix them with a rounded dessertspoon of salt. Then place a plate on top of them and weigh it down with a heavy weight, making sure you have a plate underneath the colander to catch the drips.

Leave them like this for an hour so that any bitter juices can drain out. 


Meanwhile, pour boiling water over the tomatoes, leave them for 1 minute exactly, then drain, slip the skins off and quarter the flesh. When the aubergines and courgettes have drained, squeeze out any excess juice, then dry them thoroughly in a clean cloth. 

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 9, 475°F (240°C). 

Now arrange the tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes, peppers and onion on the roasting tray, sprinkle with the garlic, torn basil leaves, crushed coriander seeds and season with freshly milled pepper.

Drizzle the oil over, then mix thoroughly to get a good coating of oil. Roast on the highest shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and tinged brown at the edges.

Remove from the oven and leave until cold. 

When you are ready to make the strudel, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C) and pop the nuts on to a baking sheet to toast for 6 minutes. While they toast, melt the butter. When the nuts are ready, remove them from the oven and allow to cool a little. 

Now pulse them in a processor to chop them small, transfer them to a small bowl and mix them with 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Now spread a sheet of baking parchment out on the baking sheet.

Follow this with a sheet of filo, covering the remaining sheets of filo with a clean, slightly damp tea cloth. Brush all over the filo sheet with some of the melted butter. Sprinkle on a quarter of the nuts and Parmesan. Then do this another 3 times with the other filo sheets. 

Now scatter half the cubes of mozzarella in the middle of the pastry and then, using a draining spoon, transfer the roasted ratatouille on top of that, leaving a gap of 2 inches (5 cm) at either end, followed by the other half of the mozzarella.

Then use the parchment paper to help you roll the filo over the filling and then over again. What you need to end up with is the seam and the ends tucked in underneath. You can discard the paper now. 

Now brush the rest of the butter all over and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 40 minutes.

If you want to, you can make the strudel in advance and bake it when you want to serve it. Or I sometimes cook it in advance and whack it back in the oven to warm at the same temperature for 10 minutes. 

Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of Parmesan before serving.

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