Pasta with Aubergine-Tomato Sauce

Sometimes I think I am obsessed with Italian cuisine. Mainly with pasta. And as I prepare it so often I always try new recipes and variations. Lately I fell in love with this baked aubergine-tomato combination.

Normally I do not follow any recipes. I always get inspired by them but then I transform them and change them. But this New Year’s Eve I met a lovely German-Italian family and they prepared one of the best pasta dishes I have eaten. I loved it so much that I had to ask for the recipe. And to be honest, I found it so perfect that I didn’t want to change anything on it. And it would be a mistake not share it with you. The choice of pasta is up to you, but for this sauce I prefer penne, rigatoni, fusilli and similar ones. If you don’t like canned tomatoes you can use the fresh ones but don’t forget to peel them before. I used medium sized aubergine that I let “sweat”. Rumor has it that salting or “sweating” aubergine before it’s cooked makes it more tender, flavourful  and less bitter. This is definitely not one of the 20 minutes recipes but it is nothing difficult to prepare and it is definitely worth a try.

Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine
  • can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • 300-400g of pasta
  • 1/2 cup of pecorino cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup of white wine
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven on 200°C. Cut the aubergine in half lengthwise and rub the salt over the cut part. Let it rest for at least 30minutes. Rinse all of the salt off of the aubergine with running water and dry it with paper kitchen towels. Then bake the aubergines for 35-45minutes or till tender.
  • Meanwhile heat the oil in a pan and cook 1/2 of the onion, garlic and chilli pepper for about 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Then remove the chilli pepper and garlic. Add the tomatoes, season well and bring to simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes. At the end stir in chopped basil leaves.
  • When the aubergine is baked, peel it, and cut it on smaller chunks. Meanwhile heat the oil and sautée the second half of the onion for about 2 minutes. Add the aubergine and season it well. Add the wine and let it evaporate on a high heat (3-4mins). When it is done, blend the aubergine mixture till smooth and transfer it to the tomato sauce . Add grated pecorino cheese and mix it all well.
  • Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, drain, then stir through the sauce. Serve the pasta drizzled with a little bit of olive oil and tossed with some extra cheese on the top.

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