After kicking off my celebration of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Hashbrown: The End – catching up with Carol and Dylan, I realised that I needed to circle back to the point and celebrate the titular Kimmy. Aka my dear friend Ellie Kemper.
While I haven’t known Ellie as long as some of the other cast members – I met her in 2011 while visiting Melissa on the set of Bridesmaids – we quickly bonded over our passion for writing and became the best of friends.
Despite being a close personal friend of Tina, I shockingly didn’t organise the casting. It was such a delight to pick up the phone from Tina who was giddy to have found her Kimmy, only to discover it was my dearest friend.
I haven’t seen Ellie since the last Emmys – where I refused to believe the news that Kimmy’s end was nigh – so it was wonderful to spend some time together and absorb the fact that this delightful, quirky show is ending and the world will never be the same.
And our hearts will become a blackened void.
Though I guess that’s where my Ellie Kemparmigana Rissoles come into play.
Chargrilled eggplant topped with a juicy, braised rissole, covered in tomato sauce and cheese? You can’t go wrong, even for the staunchest of anti-eggplanters – the veggie only, obvs – like me.
Ellie Kemparmigana Rissoles
Serves: 6-8, depending on the size of your eggplant.
1 large eggplant, cut into 1cm slices
1kg beef mince
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
1 tbsp basil, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups passata
½ cup – or more, obvi – mozzarella cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Place the slices of eggplant on a lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, flipping once. Remove and drain on some kitchen towel.
Reduce oven to 180°C.
Combine the mince, oregano, basil, garlic and parmesan in a bowl and shape into 16 rissoles.
Place the eggplant slices in the bottom of a baking dish and top each with a rissole. Pour over the passata and sprinkle with the mozzarella. Transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the cheese is golden and the rissoles cooked through.
Serve immediately with a big heaping of Gabriel Mash or on their own. Or with salad. I don’t mind, the most important thing is you devour.