This is a dish orginated in Sicily and typically uses ricotta salata (salted ricotta), a harder alternative of the ricotta you will find in supermakets. This type of ricotta can be shaved or grated over salads and pastas, but you can use the normal ricotta instead of ricotta salata. I love every single ingredient in this recipe and sometimes cook extra slices of aubergines to snack on. Buon appetitio!
2 large aubergines
400g rigatoni (or spaghetti)
2 cans of plumed tomatoes
90g grated ricotta salata cheese (or normal ricotta)
1 mozzarella ball (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Frying oil for the aubergines
Freshly ground black pepper
Start by finely slicing the aubergines and spread them out in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 minutes to extract the bitter juices. Rinse the aubergine and pat dry.
Whilst you’re waiting on the aubergines to extract the bitter juices, you can start preparing the sauce by pouring a glug of extra virgin oil in a pan with 2 crushes cloves of garlic and cook on low heat. Once the garlic has turned a golden colour, empty both cans of plumbed tomatoes and slightly crush them (add some water in a can and throw in the sauce if you think it needs it). Shred about 5 basil leaves and season the sauce. Leave to cook on medium heat for 15 minutes and set-aside.
Now lets fry the aubergines in a large pan. Once you’ve fried them all you can add them to the sauce and let everything rest.
Boil a pot of salted water and throw in the pasta. Follow cooking instructions on the pack. Once the pasta is al dente transfer it in the pan with the sauce and mix with the ricotta salata, diced mozzarella and let everything melt. Garnish with a few torn basil leaves and grated cheese on top.
I was born in Italy, Cassino to be more precise, a comune in the Province of Frosinone at the southern end of the Lazio region, but I was brought up in sunny Edinburgh so I’m practically Scottish and proud!
Apart from living for food, I also live for fitness and like to hit the gym at least 5 times a week to burn off the pasta and parmigiana! It's important to keep active. When I turn 56, I would love to be able to pull the stunts Madonna can pull - including falling off a stage and still carry on.
In our culture Sunday is the day where the family comes together and bonds over food. When I was young I would help my father prep lunch, which developed my passion for food. He trained me in the art of being a sous chef and taught me the importance of organisation. As I got older I started experimenting with the different flavours and now, I’m the one who cooks for my parents when I can.
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