Aubergine and Grana Padano PDO mini burgers

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Aubergine and Grana Padano PDO mini burgers
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Details

. Difficulty: Medium . Serves: 4 people . Preparation time: 1 hour
A very easy and useful recipe, this lovely vegetarian alternative to the classic burger will make you barbeque very special! These tasty and surprisingly meaty aubergine burgers are served with soft cheesy Grana Padano PDO bread rolls, the perfect marriage.
Don’t hesitate and try them out with a glass of bubbly Prosecco DOC at your next garden party. They’ll be the star of your menu!
The bread rolls can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer in a sealed bag.

Ingredients

2  large aubergines
1 egg
1 tbsp of homemade breadcrumbs
150g grated Grana Padano cheese
100g fresh ricotta
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch of basil
1 small bunch of thyme
10 cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper (to taste)
 
For the Grana Padano bread rolls (30 rolls):
500g 00 flour for bread
50g softened butter
300ml milk (plus extra to brush)
35g fresh yeast
20g salt
30g sugar
200g Grana Padano, grated
100g  Mozzarella, grated
1 egg yolk to brush
 

Preparation

Melt the yeast in the milk at room temperature. It is important to not add the salt before the yeast is completely melted to prevent yeast lumps. Knead  all  the ingredients together until your dough is smooth and elastic.
 
Leave the dough to rest at room temperature for about two hours until it has doubled in size. Cut the pieces of dough to around 30g each and with the palm of your hands form them into small, round rolls, like ping pong balls. Place them as you go on to a baking tray lined up with baking parchment. Brush the rolls with a bit of milk and leave them to prove for 40 minutes.
 
Preheat the oven to 230˚C, brush the rolls with the yolk, sprinkle them with some extra Grana Padano and bake for about 6 minutes at 200° with a small bowl of water on the bottom of the oven to create some humidity. When they are golden it  means they’re ready!
 
Wash and peel the aubergine. Cut them into rough cubes and add salt and pepper. Once they have lost part of their bitter water, drain them and roast in a frying pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Once cooked, chop into a paste to create a purée.

Mix the aubergine pulp with the ricotta, the grated Grana Padano and the egg. Season to taste. If the mixture is too soft to be worked, add a spoon of breadcrumbs. With the help of pastry rings make the burgers no bigger than 20g.  Roast them in the oven at 180˚C  for 8 minutes on a greaseproof tray.
 
Stuff the small buns with a spread of ricotta, the burgers, half cherry tomatoes a basil leaf and some extra shaves of Grana Padano. Bake whole buns again to give them crunchiness. Serve hot.
Danilo Cortellini
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