Aubergine, cherry tomato and walnut spaghetti

More pasta?! Indeed – one would be forgiven for thinking that this is all Sebastian ever cooked. It isn’t half bad though, and wonderfully easy to make. Last night I sat in the kitchen documenting the cooking process and drinking wine while Seb made me this…

To start he sliced an aubergine into long thin sticks, and then covered them in salt and put them to one side (salting aubergine brings out the bitter juices, so it is good to do this whichever way you want to cook it).

Then he made the same base he used for the Rigatoni with capers, saltanas and anchovies – finely mince three or four cloves of garlic, some basil stems and a couple of small red chillies and added them to a pot on low heat with roughly three quarters of a cup of olive oil (maybe a little more) allowing everything to soften, but not to brown too much. He then added two glasses of red wine (if you want it to be richer you can easily add more) and two teaspoons of red wine vinegar. To that he added a vine’s worth of peeled cherry tomatoes – to peel them you put them in hot water until their skins begin to come a bit loose and then you can pull them off with ease. (The tomatoes in the picture have their skins on but they were pulled off shortly after the photo was taken when Seb decided it would be better without them).

It is important to wait until the sauce reduces before you add the aubergine or else it will soak up all the flavours just of the early components of the sauce, rather than the full flavours you want. When the tomatoes were beginning to soften Seb bashed them up with a spoon until they had lost all semblance of being tomatoes (you can do this more or less roughly depending on your preferences). While this was simmering away on low heat he threw in a big handful of walnuts just a little broken up, a small handful of saltanas, some salt and lots of fresh ground black pepper.

Finally, when everything was looking mushy and delicious, the aubergine was added.

Aubergine takes a while to cook so this is a good time to put on the spaghetti. You can see when they are beginning to look done, but do make sure to turn them so they get properly cooked on both sides. Then just toss the sauce through the spaghetti, sprinkle with cheese (we used a combination of percorino and parmesan), and serve.

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