This post follows on from my recipe for slow cooked beef and vegetable ragu. It’s another delicious way to serve the ragu with even more lovely vegetables! It’s reminiscent of a lasagne al forno but it’s much lighter without the béchamel and layers of pasta. A healthier take on the dish that still feels quite comforting with the bubbling layer of stringy, melted mozzarella on top.
Grilling the vegetables first adds a wonderful charred flavour, try them next time in a warm grilled vegetable salad simply served with the dressing as per the recipe and a ball of creamy buffalo mozzarella plus a large handful of peppery rocket. It’s a gorgeous, summery salad that’s substantial enough to stand-alone or is great alongside barbecued steaks, chicken or lamb.
Grilled Vegetable, Beef & Mozzarella Bake
Serves 3 (two portions and one lunch)
3 portions of beef and vegetable ragu, defrosted if frozen, see recipe
1 aubergine, sliced about ½ cm thick
1 large courgette or two round courgettes, sliced into rounds about 3mm thick
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced into 6 pieces
3 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 tsp garlic puree
2 tbsp wine vinegar
zest ½ lemon or lime
125g ball buffalo or normal mozzarella, torn
fresh basil, torn
oregano, fresh or 1 tsp dried
Heat the grill to medium/hot and the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Arrange the veg slices (not the tomatoes) on a tray lined with well oiled foil. Season with salt and pepper and brush with oil, grill for 3-4 minutes each side. You may need to do this in 2-3 batches depending on the size of your trays.
Mix the vinegar, garlic puree, lime or lemon zest with some seasoning. Dress the warm grilled vegetables with this and tear on most of the basil and half the oregano.
Assemble in a medium ovenproof dish, a layer of half the beef ragu, then some grilled vegetables, another layer of beef then the rest of the veg. Finish with the tomatoes, season with salt pepper and then add the torn mozzarella. Top with the rest of the basil and oregano and bake for 45 minutes, covering with foil if the cheese gets too brown, until golden, melted and bubbling. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.