My gosh! It has very much been a hectic couple of weeks that felt like Pre-covid times in terms of work, social engagements and life admin so sadly my cooking and restaurant reviewing had to be put a little on the back burner. I did however make the most AMAZING pasta alla norma, that iconic Italian pasta dish which makes elevates the humble aubergine to the star of the show, which I simple HAD to share with you in the meantime! It's the sort of dinner that is fun and easy to make but tastes like a million dollars and hey we can all do with that!
- 3 Aubergines
- 120ml Olive Oil
- 5 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
- 1-2 mild dried chillies
- 2 x 400g tins of Plum Tomatoes
- 5 large Oregano Sprigs
- 1 tsp Caster Sugar
- 500g Spaghetti
- 45g ricotta salata (a saltier, more grumbly version of ricotta which is SO good - I found it at foodie haven Eataly)
- 20g Basil Leaves, torn
- Salt & Black Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 220c.
- Using a peeler and working from top to bottom of each aubergine, shave off long alternating strips of peel so that they look striped, like zebras.
- Cut widthways into 1cm thick slices and place in a bowl with 75ml of oil, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of paper.
- Mix well, then spread out on two large baking paper-lined trays.
- Roast for 30-35 minutes, until dark golden-brown.
- Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a frying pan or pot and place on a medium high heat.
- Add the garlic and chillies and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the garlic is golden brown (but not burnt!).
- Add the tinned tomatoes, oregano, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a grind of pepper.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick.
- Remove the oregano sprigs and stir in the aubergine.
- Set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and once al dente, drain and retain some cooking water.
- Add the spaghetti to the sauce and mix well, adding two thirds of the pecorino and basil, add a few tablespoons of the cooking water if the sauce has become too thick.
- Divide between two bowls, then top with the remaining pecorino and basil.