Penne with Tomato, Eggplant & Ricotta

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

Apples for Jam

Apples for Jam

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2010

  • About

This has just a dash of eggplant (aubergine) but you could add more if you like. A nice, mild and still very Italian pasta.

Ingredients

  • 150 g( oz) small eggplant (aubergine)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and squashed a bit
  • 400 g(14 oz) tinned diced tomatoes, or 400 ml(14 fl oz) tomato passata
  • 350 g(12 oz) penne
  • 50 g( oz) salted mature ricotta or parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Method

Cut the eggplant into slices about 5 mm(¼ inch) thick and 2–3 cm(about 1 inch) across. Toss them into a colander, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and leave them for about 30 minutes to drain off any bitter juices.

Heat half the olive oil with the garlic clove in a smallish pan over medium-low heat until you can just smell the garlic. Add the tomatoes and season with some salt and pepper. When it comes to the boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 15–20 minutes, until it all melts into a sauce. Break up any bits of tomato with a wooden spoon as you stir. Keep warm.

Rinse and drain the eggplant pieces and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the eggplant over medium heat until it is crusty and golden in places on the outside, but still soft inside.

Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large pan of boiling salted water, following the packet instructions. Drain, keeping a cupful of the water.

Put the pasta in a large serving bowl. Tip in the eggplant, the tomato sauce, ricotta and parsley and mix together thoroughly, adding some of the pasta cooking water if it seems dry. Serve immediately.

My Greek friends remember coming home from school to a piece of white bread, lightly grilled and splashed with olive oil, then sprinkled with some beautiful oregano, crushed between their mamma’s fingers.