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)
- Slice the eggplant into 1cm thick slices then into 1cm cubes
- Heat a few big glugs of oil in a large saucepan
- Add the eggplant and stir as you do so it all gets coated with the oil
- 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)
- 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)
- Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper – you can add some crumbled up dried chillies at this stage
- Simmer for around 15 minutes – cook the pasta during this stage
- Add cream to sauce (I don’t do this anymore)
- 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.
- 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.