Friday, 3 August 2012

Sicilian aubergine fusilli

Once I find a dish I like I can eat it every week. For months on end. Exciting right? But that doesn't mean that I don't like to break the self imposed routine and cook something I never tried before. Most of the time I go for weird combinations, ingredients I would never dream of pairing with each other. Sometimes it's worth the risk, sometimes not (my husband's face says it all :) 
When I came across Thomasina Miers' recipe I was intrigued. Raisins and pasta? Raisins, capers and pasta?! That sounded weird. So of course I decided to make it and I'm happy to report it's delicious! There's a little sharpness coming from the vinegar (I'm not a huge fan so I reduced the quantity), sweetness from raisins, saltiness from capers and a bit of acidity from tomatoes. Try this if you're stuck in a rut and are tired of more traditional pasta dishes - you'll be pleasantly surprised!

To make enough for two you'll need:

fusilli pasta (3-4 large handfuls)
1 aubergine, cubed
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or minced
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp capers
2 tsp red wine vinegar
50 g raisins
half a container ricotta cheese
2 handfuls of pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan
1 tbsp dried oregano
salt, pepper
few mint leaves, finely chopped
olive oil

Finely chop onion, garlic and a deseeded chilli, then start frying in a large pan with 2 tbsps olive oil.

Chop aubergine into discs, then cubes and add to the frying pan. Fry on medium heat until aubergine softens - about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and oregano.

In a separate pan, fry raisins with a teaspoon of oil on low heat until they puff up, then add to the aubergine/onion mix with puree and tomatoes. Cook on a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes so that all the flavours come together, then add capers and red wine vinegar.

While the sauce is bubbling away cook pasta in plenty of salted boiling water, then drain and toss with the aubergine sauce until nicely covered.

Serve sprinkled with mint, pine nuts and dollops of ricotta. Yum.

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