If you like melanzane all parmigiana, these taste like the Italian classic but in dumpling form. The dumplings are gloriously rich and cheesy and yet somehow incredibly light.

Make the sauce ahead and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for 1 month. The dumpling mix can be made up to a few hours in advance and chilled, ready to roll into balls and sear. Serve with spaghetti, rice, or some sautéed greens.


  • Dumplings
    • 1-¼ cups fresh bread crumbs, preferably sourdough (90g)
    • 4 eggplants, (1kg) roughly cut into 1" cubes (1kg)
    • ½ cup olive oil
    • ½ tsp salt
    • black pepper
    • 6 tbsps ricotta cheese, (100g)
    • 2-½ oz. parmesan cheese, finely grated (75g), plus more to serve
    • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped (10g)
    • 1 egg
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 4-½ tsps all-purpose flour
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • ½ cup basil leaves, roughly chopped (10g)
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • black pepper
  • Sauce
    • 2 tbsps olive oil
    • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 2-½ cups tomato purée, (600ml/400g)
    • 1-½ tsps tomato paste
    • 1-½ tsps superfine sugar
    • ¼ tsp chile flakes
    • ¾ tsp paprika
    • 2 tsps fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp salt
    • black pepper
    • 1-½ cups water, (400ml)
  • cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly torn in half (45g)
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, roughly chopped (5g)


1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (320˚F/160˚C convection). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the breadcrumbs on a second baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, until lightly browned and dried out. Set aside to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 450˚F (428˚F/220˚C convection).
2. On the prepared baking sheet, toss the eggplants with 5 tbsp (75ml) of the olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and a good grind of pepper. Spread out as much as possible and bake for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through, until golden brown.
3. Roughly chop the eggplants into a chunky mash, then transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes, or until cool. Once cook, add the ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, egg, egg yolk, flour, breadcrumbs, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup (10g) basil, 1/4 tsp salt, and a good grind of pepper. Mix well, then with lightly oiled hands shape the mixture into sixteen golf ball-size dumplings, about 2 oz (55g) each, compressing them as you go so they hold together.
4. Put 2 tbsp olive oil into a large nonstick frying pan on medium-high heat. Add half the dumplings and fry for 3–4 minutes, turning them until golden brown all over. Adjust the heat if they’re browning too much. Transfer to a plate. Add another 1 tbsp olive oil and fry the remaining dumplings in the same way. Set aside.
5. Preheat the oven to 400˚F (356˚F/180˚C convection). Put the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil into a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add the four remaining cloves of garlic and cook for 1 minutes until fragrant, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, chile flakes, paprika, oregano, 1 tsp salt, and a good grind of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, or until thickened slightly. Pour in the water, bring to a simmer, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer for another 10 minutes.
6. Pour the sauce into a medium baking dish, top with the dumplings, and bake for 20 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from the oven, then scatter with the olives, remaining basil, and a grating of Parmesan and serve.


Vegetarian, Vegetarian Dishes


Yotam Ottolenghi


4 servings




European : Mediterranean : Italian