Monday, 1 April 2019

Pasta alla Norma from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

Pasta alla Norma from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi | salt sugar and i blog | Dani Elis

Last week I was stuck indoors with a virus that after going to the doctor I was told, had to run it's course and just to rest. I feel like I went slightly mad being stuck inside all day, waiting to feel better. Waiting to snap out of it.

Cooking dinner for myself helped. On Monday I felt so rotten I couldn't get off the couch so ordered Thai take away for one. Tuesday I escaped the house for dinner and had Chicken Curry at Kate's (sooo good!), Wednesday I made a one-pot mac and cheese from Hetty McKinnon's cookbook Family. That was the easiest and probably the tastiest mac and cheese I've ever made. It had sweet potato smooshed in it and I didn't have 100 pans to wash up after! I'll have to share the recipe for that when I make it again next time and can snap a photo or two. Thursday my fruit and veg box arrived which had a lovely eggplant in it just waiting for me to douse it in olive oil and add it to a pasta. Which I did and it was insanely good. Friday I made a vegetable curry of sorts... it was strange but it was comforting which was all I wanted.

But back to Thursday nights dinner.  Pasta alla Norma from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi. Umm YUM. I'm pretty sure I've posted about and eggplant pasta dinner on the blog before but this recipe is too good not to share and I can't stop thinking about it. There was no faffing with salting the eggplant and letting it sit or frying eggplant then taking it out of the pan to only put it back in later on. Instead, you roast the eggplant slices which are tossed in a generous glug (or three) of olive oil and sprinkled with salt. It looks like you've overcooked the eggplant and that it's gone crispy but trust Yotam, it will be perfection when you add it in later on. You then make a simple tomato sauce with canned tomatoes, garlic, a touch of sugar and herbs and once your eggplant is roasted and golden, and your sauce is reduced a little you toss it all through hot spaghetti with a splash of pasta water.

The eggplant slices break up into the sauce and go silky and moorish. They add a lovely roasted caramelised flavour to the sauce which is finished off with torn fresh basil leaves and shaved parmesan. Oh my, I think I'm drooling as I type this. If you can be in love with a pasta sauce, this is it for me. I'm in love.

Just so happened an eggplant snuck into this weeks grocery shop... maybe this cheeky Pasta alla Norma will make an appearance this week too :)

Tell me lovely readers, have you even been in love with a recipe?

Pasta alla Norma

Recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi from Simple.
Serves 4

3 eggplants (900g)
120ml olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1-2 mild dried chillies (deseeded if you don't want the heat) - I used a pinch of dried flakes
2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
5 large oregano sprigs (8g) - I used a teaspoon of dried oregano
1 tsp caster sugar
300g spaghetti
45g mature pecorino romano (or ricotta salata), shaved
20g basil leaves, torn
salt & black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C fan.

Using a peeler and working from top to bottom of each aubergine, shave off long alternating strips of peel so that they look striped, like zebras. Cut widthways into 1cm thick slices and place in a bowl with 75ml of oil, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of paper. Mix well, then spread out on two large baking paper-lined trays. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until dark golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a frying pan or pot and place on a medium high heat. Add the garlic and chillies and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the garlic is golden brown (but not burnt!). Add the tinned tomatoes, oregano, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a grind of pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick. Remove the oregano sprigs and stir in the aubergine. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and once al dente, drain and retain some cooking water.

Add the spaghetti to the sauce and mix well, adding two thirds of the pecorino and basil, add a few tablespoons of the cooking water if the sauce has become too thick.

Divide between four bowls, then top with the remaining pecorino and basil.


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