This is a great vegetarian pasta dish that you can have on the table in about 40 minutes. The cream adds a richness to the sauce and the mozzarella turns gooey as it is heated by the pasta and sauce. It is from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie’s Dinners” cookbook.
The most important part of this recipe is making sure to cook the aubergine until it is soft. To do this you need to use enough hot oil and to saute it for 8-10 minutes. In the past people used to recommend that you salt aubergine before cooking to remove any bitterness but you don’t need to do this any longer as aubergines are no longer bitter.
You will know that the aubergine is soft enough when it looks like this picture.
At this point you will add the onion and garlic to soften both.
After adding the tinned tomatoes you boil the water for the pasta. The cream is then added to the sauce which will then cook in the time it takes to cook the pasta.
As with any pasta dish it needs to be served immediately.
Sweet Tomato, Aubergine and Mozzarella Pasta
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large firm aubergine
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and finely sliced
- 2 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes
- 4 tbsp thick cream
- a large handful of fresh basil
- 1 to 2 fresh or dried chilies chopped or crumbled, optional
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- black pepper
- 1 ball mozzarella
- 500 gm Rigatoni
- Remove both ends of the aubergine and slice it into 1cm slices, then slice these across and finely dice into 1cm cubes
- Heat a pan and add 4 tablespoons of olive oil. When it’s hot, add the cubes of aubergine, and as soon as they hit the pan stir them around with a spoon so they are delicately coated with the oil and not soaked on one side only. Cook for about 7 or 8 minutes on a medium heat.
- After that add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes, until the onion is soft and the garlic has a tiny bit of colour.
- Then add the tinned tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar.
- Stir around and season carefully with salt and pepper.
- At this point, if you want to give the dish a little heat add some chopped fresh or crumbled dried chilli.
- Add the basil stalks, and simmer the sauce nice and gently for around 15 minutes, then add the cream.
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions
- Add the pasta to the sauce and mixture together with the torn-up mozzarella and basil.
- Add some of the reserved pasta water if needed
- Serve immediately.
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