Chef's Recipes

Baked eggplant and ricotta sformato with fregola and roasted tomato sauce

Australian Gourmet Traveller and Stokehouse restaurant Italian vegetarian entree recipe for baked eggplant and ricotta sformato with fregola and roasted tomato sauce

By Anthony Musarra
  • Serves 6
Baked eggplant and ricotta sformato with fregola and roasted tomato sauce
Baked eggplant and ricotta sformato with fregola and roasted tomato sauce

"My husband and I enjoyed a marvellous vegetarian dish at the Stokehouse in St Kilda. We would be very grateful if you might be able to persuade Anthony Musarra to share the recipe for his eggplant sformato."
Ciara O'Sullivan, Alice Springs, NT

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To request a recipe, write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001, or email us. All requests should include the restaurant's name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.


  • 3 medium eggplants (about 350gm each)
  • 250 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve (1 cup)
  • 200 gm fregola (see note)
  • 200 gm ricotta
  • ½ cup basil leaves, coarsely chopped (loosely packed)
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves, coarsely chopped (loosely packed)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup basil leaves (loosely packed)
Roasted tomato sauce
  • 6 ripe Roma tomatoes, cored, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ red capsicum, seeds removed and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup basil leaves, coarsely torn (loosely packed)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 200 gm canned tomatoes
  • 100 ml vegetable stock
  • 80 ml red wine vinegar (1/3 cup)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar


  • 1
    For tomato sauce, preheat oven to 190C. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, capsicum, basil and olive oil in a baking dish and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 40 minutes or until tomato and capsicum are coloured and soft. Transfer tomato mixture to a heavy-based saucepan, add canned tomatoes, stock, vinegar and sugar and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Cool slightly, place in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • 2
    Trim ends from eggplant then slice lengthwise into 5mm-thick slices. Brush eggplant lightly with ½ cup olive oil. Heat a chargrill pan over a high heat and cook eggplant, in batches, for 2 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper and cool.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 180C. Scatter ricotta over a baking paper-lined oven tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Scatter with 1 tbsp each of basil and parsley and bake for 20 minutes or until just starting to colour. Cool.
  • 4
    Cook fregola in boiling salted water according to packet directions or until tender. Drain and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, toss to combine and season to taste, cool. Place in a bowl, add remaining basil and parsley, garlic, egg, parmesan, 1/3 cup roasted tomato sauce, crumble over ricotta and stir gently to combine. Season to taste.
  • 5
    Line six 1 cup-capacity moulds with plastic wrap, then line with eggplant slices overlapping slightly. Spoon fregola mixture into prepared moulds and pack down firmly, fold eggplant over filling, then fold over plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
  • 6
    Preheat oven to 160C. To serve, unmould sformato, remove the plastic wrap and transfer to a baking paper-lined oven tray, drizzle with remaining olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through. Heat remaining tomato sauce over medium heat for 5 minutes or until just heated through, then spoon onto plates, top with sformato, scatter with basil leaves and drizzle with extra olive oil, season to taste.


Note Fregola or fregolone is a Sardinian cous cous and is available from The Essential Ingredient and Italian delicatessens.

  • Author: Anthony Musarra