Our family, especially the children love pasta and I like to try different sauces to make it exciting, delicious and that I can prepare ahead of time. Patlican (eggplant or aubergine) is an ingredient we use a lot in Turkish cooking, and its meaty, sweet flesh adds a wonderful flavor to the pasta. Eggplant has a lot of water content and the trick is to get all that moisture out before cooking, as shown in the recipe, so that they won’t go soggy.
You can prepare this sauce ahead of time and freeze any leftover sauce. It is a wonderful, comforting dish that may save that weekday supper!
Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
350gr/12oz penne pasta (about 100gr per person is suggested)
1 medium eggplant (aubergine), diced into small chunks
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil
10ml/2teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Grated parmesan or pecorino romano to serve
Cut the eggplant in half lengthways and then dice each eggplant into bite size chunks. Spread them on a wide tray, sprinkle salt over and leave aside for 15 minutes. With using paper towel, squeeze excess water out of eggplants.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and lightly sauté the eggplant for 3-4 minutes. This will help eggplants to soften up and start bringing out their lovely sweet flesh. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another minute or two. Add the chopped tomatoes, give them a good mix and cook for a further two minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, add the oregano and mix well. Simmer for a few more minutes.
In the meantime, place the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water, add a little salt and a dash of olive oil. Stir occasionally and boil for about 10 minutes (for penne), until “al dente”. Towards the end of the cooking, take 2 tablespoons of the pasta’s cooking liquid and add to the pasta sauce, mix well. Once pasta is cooked, drain the water and mix in the eggplant & tomato sauce.
Serve hot immediately, with some grated pecorino or parmesan over the pasta, if you like. Plain green salad with lemon and olive oil dressing goes well with the pasta.