This pasta sauce is rich and tangy yet it is made with only a small amount of olive oil and contains no dairy. The aubergine (or eggplant) is baked whole (as opposed to being fried in lots of oil, as we often do) and then paired up with smoked paprika plus a few additional ingredients. This sauce is ideal for people who are not very keen on aubergines, as the flavour blends in extremely well with the other ingredients and is very subtle. None of my children like aubergines yet they unanimously declared that this was my best pasta sauce ever!
Cooked pasta of your choice, enough for 4 people
1 medium/large aubergine
1 large red pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 onion, chopped
2 medium/large tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
3 tablespoons white wine
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 200 C/ gas mark 6. Place the aubergine, pepper and garlic on a baking tray and pop in the oven (the pepper needs 20 minutes, the aubergine and garlic – 35-40 minutes). In the meantime cook your pasta.
Remove the vegetables from the oven. Cut the aubergine open lengthways and scoop out the soft flesh (I used a large spoon to do this). Alternatively, if the skin is not too dry you could add it to the sauce as well. Remove the skin from the pepper if possible. Also remove the skin from the garlic (just give it a squeeze and it should pop out easily) and chop it up.
In a pot heat up the oil, then add the onion and saute for 2 minutes stirring often. Add the aubergine (with or without the skin), tomatoes, garlic and wine and cook on a medium/high heat for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pepper, tomato puree, smoked paprika and seasoning, then cover, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree. If the sauce is too thick add a couple of tablespoons of the water from cooking the pasta.