One of my favourite midweek recipes that I make quite often is an interpretation of pasta puttanesca. The recipe has evolved over years. At some point I added some grilled eggplant to the recipe which turned out to be a winner as the sweet grilled taste compensates for the spiciness and the sour flavors. And once we forgot to buy salad so instead added avocado. Its soft, fatty taste nicely balances the flavors. Also if you have some red wine left, you should be scared to add a splash before adding the tomatoes.
for 4 people
20 minutes preparation, 20 minutes oven time, 20 minutes cooking time
2-4 cloves of garlic
1 handful of kalamata olives
1 small hand of capers
30gr anchovy fillets
Half a red chili (Bold Spices)
1-2 tbsp of Bold Spices dried oregano
2 handfuls ripe cherry tomatoes
800 gr dried spaghetti
1 handful of fresh basil and fresh flat leaf parsley
Bold Spices Tellicherry black pepper
Heat the oven to 230 degrees celsius. Meanwhile, cut the eggplant into long wedges of 1.5 cm thick. Put the pieces on a closed oven tray and use a brush to oil the eggplant on both sides. Put them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions.
Peel and finely slice the garlic, roughly chop the olives, and halve the cherry tomatoes. Slice the chili finely. Pick the basil leaves and parsley. Rip them into rough pieces.
When ready, take out the eggplant from the oven, and let it cool slightly. Depending on how fireproof your hands are, chop the eggplant pieces into squares of 1.5 cm.
Place a large frying pan over a medium heat, put 2 tbsp olive oil in and add the garlic, bake for 2 minutes and then add the chilli and oregano for a minute, then add the anchovies and olives and capers stir for 2 minutes.
Add the cherry tomatoes, a good splash of pasta water and cover with a lid. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cherry tomatoes start to cook down slightly. Add the eggplant to the sauce.
When cooked, drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of cooking water.
Add the pasta to the sauce and gently stir in the pasta. Add cooking water if deemed necessary.
Transfer the pasta to plates and put a small hand of the fresh basil and parsley. Complement the dish with shavings of parmesan cheese.
Before serving (and to anger anyone with Italian roots) take one half of the avocado per plate, slice it into wedges and put it next to the pasta with a pinch salt & pepper on it. Enjoy!