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Paccheri with Aubergine, Two Sorts of Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Rachel Roddy's paccheri with roasted aubergine, two types of tomato and cubes of creamy mozzarella is the ultimate high summer pasta dish.

From the book

Rachel Roddy

Introduction

Here paccheri are paired with a sauce of roasted aubergine and tomato and topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and cubes of mozzarella. There are a few stages, so it is worth roasting the vegetables beforehand (which is beneficial to flavour), then it is just a case of finishing the sauce, cooking the pasta and assembling. The recipe is an adaptation of one in Luciano Pignataro’s La cucina napoletana, and the combination of flavours and textures is divine.

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Ingredients

2 large aubergines
300g cherry tomatoes, halved
salt
dried oregano
icing sugar
olive oil
1 clove garlic
300g peeled plum tomatoes, fresh or tinned
ripped fresh basil
400g paccheri, or rigatoni, mezze maniche, penne, fusilli
100g mozzarella

Method

Roast the aubergines whole until they collapse, at 190°C for about 40 minutes, then remove from the oven. Turn the oven down to 130°C.

Put the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray, sprinkle with salt, dried oregano, icing sugar and olive oil, and put them into the oven for 45 minutes or until they wrinkle. Put on one side.

Scoop the flesh from the aubergine.

In a large frying pan, warm some olive oil and the garlic, then add the peeled plum tomatoes, basil and a pinch of salt and allow to bubble for 15 minutes, or until they look saucey. Add the aubergine and stir. The aim is a sauce to coat the pasta, so you can pass it through a food mill (remove the garlic) or simply mash with a potato masher. Pull from the heat.

Cook the pasta until a minute off al dente, turn up the heat on the sauce, and drain or lift the pasta directly into the sauce pan and then swish gently to blend with the sauce and finish the last minute of cooking. Add a bit more water if it looks dry – the consistency should be swishy.

Tip the paccheri on to a large serving dish, and top with the cherry tomatoes, cubed mozzarella and more ripped basil.

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From the book: An A-Z of Pasta

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