I was first introduced to this classic Sicilian dish when I was watching Kitchen Boss by Buddy Valastro. Since then, it has become one of my favourite pasta recipes.
It’s a very light and refreshing dish, full of fresh flavours. The tomatoes and aubergines adds colour and robust flavour to the pasta.
It is recommended to use Ricotta Salata, but I used Parmesan cheese. I used mini fusili wholewheat pasta and it was really delicious.
I departed from the original recipe by adding a few spices (of course)! I really liked the end result. It was very satisfying and delicious.
PREP: 1 hour COOK TIME: 45-50 minutes SERVES: 4
- 2 medium aubergines
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp red chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp nutmeg powder
- 4 cups strained tomatoes
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 300 gms mini fusili
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3/4th cup Parmesan cheese
Cut off the ends from each aubergine and peel them. Slice one aubergine into 1/8” round slices and dice the other into ½” cubes. Salt the slices and cubes and leave to drain in a colander for one hour.
Roast the caraway seeds and fennel seeds separately and powder them.
Prepare the breadcrumb mix by mixing them with 1 tsp each of the powdered caraway and fennel seeds. Add 1 tsp of the nutmeg powder to the breadcrumbs along with salt and 3 tbsp grated cheese. Mix well and set aside.
Bring a large pan of water to boil.
Heat the olive oil and saute the onions. When they are cooked add the garlic, red chilli flakes and the remaining of the powdered caraway seeds and fennel seeds. Add the remaining nutmeg and the diced aubergine. Saute for a few minutes and add the strained tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a simmer, simmering for 5 minutes. Add the butter and the chopped basil.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the tomato sauce. Transfer to a serving dish.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Pat the sliced aubergines dry with a paper towel and toss them in flour, patting off the excess flour. Dip the slices in the beaten egg and coat with the breadcrumbs. Fry the slices a few at a time in the oil until they are golden brown on both sides.
Slice the fried aubergines into three strips and top the pasta. Garnish with the grated cheese and serve immediately.