Until Paola gave me this recipe, I couldn’t cook an aubergine to save my life. Now I have them at least once a week and I’ve cooked this so many times I know the recipe by heart. Unlike many, Paola doesn’t salt her aubergine before cooking, but cooks it for a very long time until it’s absolutely soft and tender. The ragout goes beautifully with pasta or grilled meats, but I sometimes eat it just on its own drizzled with a little olive oil because it’s so good. Use the best quality tomatoes you can find.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and sweat the onions and garlic until they are translucent but not coloured.
Add the tomatoes, bring them to the boil and then stir in the cubed aubergine. Reduce the temperature to a low heat, cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 2 hours. Add a little bit of water about 75 ml at a time if the sauce looks too thick or as if it will burn.
The dish is cooked when your aubergine is soft and silky. Season it with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir in the fresh basil, roughly torn up. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving.
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