penne with aubergine, basil and tomato

Lindsey Bareham

“You like aubergine, don’t you?” was the parting shot from my accountant on a recent visit. She reeled off the basics for this colourful pasta sauce, saying her family made it regularly and it was very quick and easy. Apart from pasta, I’ve tried it with roast chicken and cod fillets seasoned with lemon and olive oil. It is also good cold, topped with a poached egg. Do try it.

serves 4, prep 15 min, cook 30 min

2 medium aubergine
3 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow pepper
3 garlic cloves
200g baby plum tomatoes
75g pitted dry black olives
2 tbsp capers
A handful of basil
Parmesan, to serve
400g penne or similar short pasta

Dice the aubergine in kebab-size pieces. Heat the oil in a spacious, lidded sauté/frying pan over a medium heat. Stir in the aubergine, tossing constantly for a few minutes so the oil is evenly absorbed. Stir intermittently while you slice the pepper in short strips, discarding the seeds and stalk. Finely chop the garlic. Pierce the tomatoes with a small, pointed knife (to avoid bursting).

When the aubergine is starting to soften and colour, stir in the pepper, garlic, tomatoes, olives and capers. Season lightly with salt, generously with black pepper. Cover and cook, stirring half way through, for 20 min. Co-ordinate cooking the pasta according to packet instructions in plenty of boiling salted water. Drain. Mix the pasta into the aubergine, stir in torn basil and serve with lashings of grated Parmesan.