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“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything explodes with its latest beauty, as if nature had saved all year for the grand finale.”

I love Fall so much. Maybe because my birthday is approaching or maybe because it seems that nature explodes in all its beauty, giving bright but short-lived colors. Everything is preparing for the grand finale, before retiring in a hushed silence that will keep us company for many months. To inaugurate my fall season there is Emmentaler PDO, which, with its flavor, adds charm to this vegetable-based recipe. A great dish to be served as a starter, but even so complete as to be considered a main dish itself.

RECIPE. FOR 4 PEOPLE

Emmentaler DOP cheese (doses to taste) + 2 eggplant + 500 ml (17 oz) organic tomato sauce + 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs +  dried thyme + 1 clove of garlic + 2 tablespoons taggiasche olives + salt + pepper + extra virgin olive oil + zucchini pesto*.

*For the zucchini pesto: 2 zucchini + 1 clove of garlic + 3 fresh basil leaves + 5 sprigs of thyme + salt + pepper + extra virgin olive oil.

For the zucchini pesto: cut two zucchini in slices and cook for 15 minutes on low heat with a clove of garlic and a little oil. When cooked, pass the zucchini in a blender with the basil leaves and thyme. Set the sauce aside.

For the eggplant: cut in two lengthwise and put them to boil in a large pot for about 20 minutes. After this time, drain well the eggplant and, with the help of a spoon, remove the pulp keeping you at about 1 cm from the skin. Chop the eggplant pulp with the olives and the garlic clove. Put everything in a pan with a drizzle of oil and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes (or until the eggplant pulp dries). Now add 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce and 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs. Stir well and let stand off the heat.Meanwhile, in another pan, pour the tomato sauce, season with salt, pepper, add a little olive oil and simmer for 10 minutes. After this time, incorporate the other mixture and stir, turning off the heat. In a baking dish previously oiled, place the eggplant and fill them with the mixture obtained. Then cover with the zucchini pesto. Bake for about 30 minutes at 180°C / 356°F. After this time, remove the eggplant; cover them with some Emmentaler PDO cheese cut into cubes and let cook for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

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