I often find myself banging my head against a brick wall. Not for any specific reason, I just enjoy the searing pain that racks through my brain.
No, not really, but it can be a bit painful trying to come up with the next culinary creation. What’s the food blogger’s equivalent of writer’s block? Constipation? Maybe.
So when I happened upon Aubergine Pasta Pie, I knew it had to be attempted (It’s called ‘Pasta ‘ncasciata’, apparently, but that isn’t important right now).
- 2 aubergines (egg plant)
- olive oil
- 1 pack of dried pasta (penne is good)
- 2 tins chopped tomato
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 50g parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 boiled eggs
- 1 mozzarella ball
- emmental cheese (I cannot remember how much; see the picture…)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 onions
- 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
- 1 punnet baby mushrooms
- 1 green pepper
- a good dash of Worcestershire Sauce
- an even gooder dash of Madeira
Start off by cooking the pasta in boiling water. Then fry the garlic gently in a dash of olive oil. (This is a step-by-step guide so apologies if you have seen garlic before).
Add the chopped onion and cook until soft.
Add the pepper and continue to cook.
Add the mushrooms and sweat everything for 5 more mins.
Now add the tomatoes and tomato paste, herbs, Worcestershire Sauce and Madeira. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 25 mins on a low heat (if it starts to dry out, top up with some red wine. You could use water, but why use water when there’s wine?).
Now turn to the aubergine. Slice lengthways thinly. This isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world, but it’s not as tedious as cleaning mussels. Or removing the pips from pomegranates.
Brush each slice with olive oil. Heat a ridged skillet. Fry each slice for a minute on each side and set aside.
Once the sauce has reduced by a third add the cooked pasta and combine.
Slice the boiled eggs.
Line a springform tin with the aubergine. Start with the sides…
…and work into the centre.
Spoon in some pasta.
Then layer with sliced mozzarella.
Then another layer of pasta.
The boiled egg…
…and emmental cheese.
Finally a last layer of pasta and the parmesan.
Put in the oven at 180 centigrade for about 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 mins. Slide a palette knife around the pie. Place a plate on top and then invert.
Remove the tin; amazingly it all stays in place!
Let’s open this up to discover the wonders that lie within…mmm looks like a bit of cheese lava in the centre there…