Celebrity chef and chef consultant at Hilton Bournemouth, Matt Tebbutt, shares one of his favourite winter-warming dishes.

This is a classic peasant dish from my favourite region of Italy, Puglia.

I discovered this area quite a few years back and regularly head back to get my fill of this still little known region.

Row after row of ancient olive groves punctuate the landscape and produce some of the finest olive oil you will ever taste.

The diet of this area is largely vegetable and pasta based and to the hardened carnivore this can at first, be rather alarming!

This dish however combines the two very nicely. Puglian cuisine is known for its brilliant simplicity and rough edges but always bold, stunning flavours.

Although the winter months are now pulling into focus, this comforting and warming dish still has a few ingredients which harp back to the summer, the oregano, tomatoes and the aubergine, but the real star is the sausage meat.

You really want one that packs a punch to bring this to life, preferably a great quality homemade sausage from a good butcher, or failing that a spicy chorizo.

Aubergines are often overlooked by the home cook because they’re either not sure what to do with them outside a Moussaka or they can be seen as a bit oily or dull. All the added punch and freshness in this dish makes it both inexpensive and really rather special.

It can also be done up well in advance and as a mid-week dish that needs little more than a simple dressed salad.

This is an adaptation of a recipe from the great food writer, Anna Del Conte.

Stuffed aubergines

  • 2 aubergines......regular black ones
  • 4 tablespoons ex virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1-2 celery sticks diced
  • 1/2 fennel bull diced
  • 225g spicy pork sausage, skinned and crumbled
  • 30g white breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons grated pecorino
  • 3 tablespoons currants
  • Fresh oregano and a few chopped sun dried tomatoes to garnish


Peel a few strips lengthways on the aubergine Cut an incision and scoop out the flesh Sauté the onion, garlic, fennel and celery...add the sausage...cook 20 mins.

Chop the flesh and sauté with the rest

Add the breadcrumbs to the pan then the pine nuts

Tip into a bowl then add the capers, egg, oregano, cheese, currants salt and pepper

Stuff the aubergines....lay in a tray, oil well and add water to the baking tray...cover loosely and bake 190 for 35-40 mins

Dress the chopped sun dried tomatoes with a little olive oil and the fresh oregano and spoon over the top for colour.