Rigatoni with tomatoes, eggplant and mozzarella

This was one of those recipes I tried when desperate to expand my repertoire – it’s a Jamie Oliver special – and is now a regular when those eggplants are all gloriously firm and shiny and call my name at the fruit and veg shop.

Rigatoni w/ tomatoes, eggplant and bocconcini
Adapted from Jamie’s Dinners, Jamie Oliver

  • 500g rigatoni
  • 1 firm, ripe eggplant
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2x400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tblsp balsamic vinegar
  • a bunch of fresh basil – stalks sliced, leaves ripped
  • 4 tblsp double cream*
  • 200g cows milk mozzarella (or bocconcini or ricotta or fetta)
  1. Slice the eggplant into 1cm thick slices then into 1cm cubes
  2. Heat a few big glugs of oil in a large saucepan
  3. Add the eggplant and stir as you do so it all gets coated with the oil
  4. Cook for about 8 minutes until it starts to soften up nicely, then add the onion and garlic (every now and then when I make this the onion just doesn’t soften up or colour nicely so I know just cook the eggplant with the onion and garlic together over a lowish heat until it’s all sofened and starting to get those lovely caramel colours on the onion)
  5. Add the two tins of tomatoes, the vinegar and the basil stalks and simmer for about 15 minutes. (sometimes I also add a jar of sugo here as well)
  6. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper – you can add some crumbled up dried chillies at this stage
  7. Simmer for around 15 minutes – cook the pasta during this stage
  8. Add cream to sauce (I don’t do this anymore)
  9. Add pasta to the sauce then rip up the mozzarella or bocconcini or crumble the ricotta or fetta and stir through with the ripped up basil leaves.
  10. Serve w/ freshly grated parmesan – you could, as Jamie suggests, tip the lot into a baking dish at this stage, top with cheese and reheat as a baked pasta if you so wished.

Divine.

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  • Frogdancer

    That's almost the same as my regular bolognaise recipe, but with mince instead of eggplant. Given my current challenge, I might give this one a go… an eggplant would have to be cheaper than 500g of mince.