Smoked Aubergine Pasta


  1. Prick the aubergines all over with a knife and then chuck them straight onto a gas flame. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, turning couple of minutes once charred to cook evenly. You want them to look burnt and a little battered on the outside and be lovely and tender inside. Once cool, peel and discard the burnt aubergine skin. Finely chop the flesh and mush it with the side of the knife.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiled water for 8-10 minutes or according to packet instructions. Scoop out 150ml of the pasta water using a heat proof jug Drain and set to one side.
  3. Whilst the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes until a little golden. Chuck on the garlic and tomatoes into the pan. Mix well and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 until tomatoes have relaxed and skins start to wilt.
  4. Add the aubergines, tomato puree, chilli, oregano and good pinch of salt to the pan with the onion. Mix well. Add the pasta, cream, most of the basil, Grana Padano and 100ml of the pasta water to the pan. Mix well do you have a really creamy sauce. Add a splash more pasta water if it needs it.
  5. Divide the pasta between four serving bowl. Scatter over the remaining basil and extra chilli if using. Grate plenty of Grana Padano Riserva over the top – I like a solid cheese blanket – and serve immediately.


Serves 4

1 large aubergine (450-500g)
400g rigatoni
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
250g cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried chili flakes, plus extra for serving
The juice of ½ a lemon
100ml double cream
A handful of roughly chopped basil leaves
15g Grana Padano Riserva, plus extra for serving
Sea salt

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