Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fusilli with pine nuts and eggplant and the pasta dishes of my childhood

Fusilli with pine nuts and eggplant / Macarrão com pinoli e berinjela

Having Italian blood in my veins, pasta was something I ate my whole life: my mother, despite being from a German family, cooked pasta quite frequently, and when she died and my paternal grandmother came to live with us she cooked pasta a lot, too – my grandfather was Italian, so pasta was something quite natural for her.

There wasn’t, or at least I don’t remember, much variety when it came to pasta sauces: there were tomato sauce, Bolognese, béchamel and aglio e olio, and that was it. When I started buying cookbooks and reading recipes online, years ago, I realized that there was so much more that could be done with pasta, there were so many interesting sauces, that blew me away.

One way I love cooking pasta is using vegetables as sauce: you get tons of flavor while eating something delicious and good for you. This recipe comes from the great Antonio Carluccio and when I finished cooking the sauce and tried some it tasted to amazing I thought it could be also spread over crusty bread and served as bruschetta instead of tossed with pasta – that is how I intend to eat it next time. :D

Fusilli with pine nuts and eggplant
slightly adapted from the great Antonio Carluccio: The Collection

400g eggplants, trimmed and cut into small cubes
90ml extra virgin olive oil
2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 heaping tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
pinch of dried chilli flakes
freshly ground black pepper
15 large black olives, pitted and thorn into pieces
handful of fresh basil leaves, thorn
400g fusilli or other short pasta
finely grated parmesan, to serve

Leave the eggplant cubes in lightly salted water for 1 hour, then drain, squeeze out the water and pat dry on kitchen paper. Fry them in the oil for 3 minutes, stir in the garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is golden brown. Add the tomato paste, pine nuts, capers, chilli flakes, black pepper and olives and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally – add a little water if the mixture is too dry. Stir in the basil, cover and remove from the heat.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and mix well with the sauce. Serve with the parmesan.

Serves 4

1 comment:

lisa is cooking said...

I could live on pasta and vegetables! What a great sauce. Sounds great for bruschetta too.

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