Preheat the oven to 190°C (gas 5). Cut the marrow into eight rings, each about 4cm thick. Remove the peel, unless the marrow is very young and tender, and scoop out the seeds. Place the rings in a large, lightly greased ovenproof dish, arranging them in a single layer.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and cook the onion and celery for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a futher minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes with their juice and season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is thick and pulpy. Stir in the shredded basil.
Lightly season the marrow rings with salt and pepper before spooning the tomato mixture into the hollowed-out centres. Spread any leftover tomato mixture between the marrow rings. Tightly cover the dish with foil so that the marrow will cook in the steam, then bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the breadcrumbs and cheese together. Remove the foil and sprinkle the crumb mixture over the tops of the marrow rings. Return to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes or until the topping is golden and crisp and the marrow is tender and juicy. Serve hot, scattered with fresh basil leaves, if liked.
Use 1 tsp dried mixed herbs if unable to get fresh basil. Serve with wholegrain bread and a leafy salad.
I was given a huge marrow and followed your bake marrow recipe. It came out very tasty. I did add some mushrooms to the topping and also some ginger and dijon mustard just for a bit of extra flavouring. But then you can add any other flavouring you like. - 27 Aug 2011
My mum brought back some marrows from the allotment and this was perfect for them. I substituted celery with some red chard, and instead of ordinary cheddar I used Applewood Smoked Cheddar. It came out delicious, I burnt the top of my mouth eating it, it was that nice. Also, very easy and quick to prepare. - 31 Jul 2012