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Weeknight pasta meals don't have to mean reaching for a sauce jar. Or a boil-in-bag pouch. Or even - God forbid - a lurid powder. With a few fresh and a few store cupboard ingredients, you and your family can quickly be tucking into a slippery, savoury pile of pasta studded with this season's must-have vegetable, the aubergine.

This is a commissioned recipe

Weeknight pasta meals don't have to mean reaching for a sauce jar. Or a boil-in-bag pouch. Or even - God forbid - a lurid powder. With a few fresh and a few store cupboard ingredients, you and your family can quickly be tucking into a slippery, savoury pile of pasta studded with this season's must-have vegetable, the aubergine.Weeknight pasta meals don’t have to mean reaching for a sauce jar. Or a boil-in-bag pouch.  Or even – God forbid – a lurid powder. With a few fresh and a few store cupboard ingredients, you and your family can quickly be tucking into a slippery, savoury pile of pasta studded with this season’s must-have vegetable, the aubergine.

The globe artichokes and anchovies aren’t too shabby either. 🙂

According to Michael Hogan of The Daily Telegraph, “Kale has wilted. The avocado is over-cado. Cauliflower has become uncooliflower” and has been replaced by a hitherto unlikely culinary superstar: the aubergine. Or eggplant, if you prefer.

I’m not sure if I agree with the writer’s tortured and scathing assessment of three of my still-favourite vegetables, but I will concur that aubergines are having their moment in the sun. Popularised in the UK by that champion of Middle Eastern food and flavours, Yotam Ottolenghi, aubergines even have their own emoji. A misused emoji to be sure (!), but a sign that aubergines have truly arrived. 🙂

Weeknight pasta meals don't have to mean reaching for a sauce jar. Or a boil-in-bag pouch. Or even - God forbid - a lurid powder. With a few fresh and a few store cupboard ingredients, you and your family can quickly be tucking into a slippery, savoury pile of pasta studded with this season's must-have vegetable, the aubergine.Scattered throughout my recipe Index is evidence of my passion for this usually-purple fruit that thinks it’s a vegetable. Of course it is sometimes white and endearingly egg-like, often long and striped, and most definitely verging on ebony, with an enticing shape, like a sly smile. You can eat the antioxidant-packed aubergine roasted, sauteed, griddled, grilled, smoked, charred, steamed, stuffed, stir-fried and even mashed. And it goes with so many other foods and cuisine types that it would be silly of me to try and name them all here.

It is very odd to think that not too long ago many people thought that aubergines were poisonous. Or at the very least caused insanity. Sure it is a member of the nightshade family, and those with rheumatoid arthritis may find avoiding such foods to be beneficial, but today we know better. It is also now grown to remove most traces of bitterness – although I perversely enjoyed those bitter, seedy aubergines of the 70s and 80s.

During the summer I go a bit crazy with aubergines, but they most certainly have their place in an year-round kitchen, if only to add variety and some of the benefits of the unique nutrients enclosed in that shiny, luminous skin. I know eating seasonal is best but you can only have so many squashes, sweet potatoes, parsnips and celeriacs before yearning for foods from slightly warmer climes. But, if you have said goodbye to foods that love sun, do try this with something like the curiously stick-like salsify; roasted or pan-fried Brussels sprouts; or even celeriac, peeling, slicing and cooking slowly on the hob.Weeknight pasta meals don't have to mean reaching for a sauce jar. Or a boil-in-bag pouch. Or even - God forbid - a lurid powder. With a few fresh and a few store cupboard ingredients, you and your family can quickly be tucking into a slippery, savoury pile of pasta studded with this season's must-have vegetable, the aubergine.

Today for my easy pasta meal I am dicing a fat aubergine and slow-cooking it in oil on the hob. But first I de-gorge it of its inherent liquid by salting large slices first (see above image) – something I almost never do but is often worth doing – rinsing, patting dry, then dicing before it hits warm oil. If you have time, this step – it takes about half an hour – can ease the aubergine’s journey from bouncy and firm to melting and golden – but crucially, not oily. This used to be done to remove the bitterness, but bitterness is no longer an issue, especially with heavy and fat specimens.

Weeknight pasta meals don't have to mean reaching for a sauce jar. Or a boil-in-bag pouch. Or even - God forbid - a lurid powder. With a few fresh and a few store cupboard ingredients, you and your family can quickly be tucking into a slippery, savoury pile of pasta studded with this season's must-have vegetable, the aubergine.Another important step is the right pasta. I am proud to say that the much-respected Italian food brand, Barilla recently asked me to come up with a healthy and light meal using their wholewheat, “Integrali” pasta. I could think of nothing nicer than pairing their excellent pasta with a few of my favourite fresh and store cupboard foods – herbs, olive oil, prepared artichoke hearts and bottled anchovies. I also use some of the starchy cooking liquid to help make the sauce, so don’t ruthlessly drain your pasta over the sink without saving at least a few tablespoons of this useful liquid. This little step can make the difference between a good dish and a great one. And it’s free!

COMPETITION TIME:  I’m really pleased to let you know that Barilla UK is sponsoring a fantastic competition to win a trip for two to Italy! Entries must be received by December 2, 2016 for a chance to win a cracking £1000 of British Airways vouchers towards a weekend away. 

All you need to do to enter is create a pasta recipe using Barilla pasta and post an image on their Facebook page, or do an Instagram post with the hashtags #OutsidetheBox and #BarillaUK. So, get cooking my friends!

Make sure to read the Terms and Conditions before entering. And GOOD LUCK!!

Weeknight pasta meals don't have to mean reaching for a sauce jar. Or a boil-in-bag pouch. Or even - God forbid - a lurid powder. With a few fresh and a few store cupboard ingredients, you and your family can quickly be tucking into a slippery, savoury pile of pasta studded with this season's must-have vegetable, the aubergine.

Aubergine, Artichoke and Anchovy Pasta

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Weeknight pasta meals don’t have to mean reaching for a sauce jar. With a few fresh and a few store cupboard ingredients, you can quickly be tucking into a slippery, savoury herby pile of pasta studded with this season’s must-have vegetable, the aubergine. The globe artichokes and anchovies aren’t too shabby either. Save some of the pasta cooking water to stir in and make the pasta even more delectable. xx

1 medium-sized aubergine/eggplant (but size isn’t crucial here), sliced into rounds about 1 cm thick

3 tbsp olive oil, divided use (you may wish/need to use more)

1 1/s tsp salt (for de-gorging the aubergine)

3 peeled garlic cloves, divided use

20g parsley

10g mint leaves

10g thyme sprigs

20g basil leaves

3 anchovy fillets, rinsed if in salt

3-4 prepared artichoke hearts, lightly squeezed of liquid or oil and cut into sixths

One tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice OR 2 tbsp of white wine

175g Barilla brand wholewheat “Integrali” fusilli, or other shapes

2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Optional pasta dish toppings: pan-fried capers, plump raisins, sliced Sicilian olives, grated hard Italian cheese, chilli flakes

Method:

1. Lay the aubergine slices in a wide colander/strainer and sprinkle over the salt. Leave to “sweat” for half an hour. The liquid will be a little brown. Rinse the slices and squeeze lightly in a clean tea towel. Chop into small bite-sized pieces. While you are chopping these, also slice two of the cloves of garlic and set aside for the important phytonutrient allicin to develop.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan over a low-medium flame. Add the aubergine and turn over in the oil. Turn the heat down a little to prevent burning. Leave to saute for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very golden and soft. Scoop out and set aside, covered.

3. While the aubergines are cooking, either finely chop the herbs and one of the garlic cloves, or process in a small food chopper. You want a fragrant mulch. Set aside.

4. Now bring 1 litre of water to the boil, add 1 tsp of salt if you like; cook the Barilla wholewheat pasta for 10 minutes.

5. While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining oil over low-medium in the frying pan. Add the sliced garlic and whole anchovy filets. Stir occasionally, cooking until the anchovy melts into the oil and the garlic is quite golden. Add the blended herbs and garlic followed by the artichoke hearts, heating thoroughly. Turn up the heat briefly and add the lemon juice or white wine, cooking until the liquid to mostly evaporated.

Drain the pasta, saving a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Splash the liquid into the hot herby anchovies and artichokes and give it a stir. Pop the pasta back into the pan and add the “sauce”. Stir and add olive oil if you wish. Season to taste. Spoon the pasta into warmed bowls, topping with the pine nuts and one of the other suggested toppings if you like.

Weeknight pasta meals don't have to mean reaching for a sauce jar. Or a boil-in-bag pouch. Or even - God forbid - a lurid powder. With a few fresh and a few store cupboard ingredients, you and your family can quickly be tucking into a slippery, savoury pile of pasta studded with this season's must-have vegetable, the aubergine.

Weeknight pasta meals don't have to mean reaching for a sauce jar. Or a boil-in-bag pouch. Or even - God forbid - a lurid powder. With a few fresh and a few store cupboard ingredients, you and your family can quickly be tucking into a slippery, savoury pile of pasta studded with this season's must-have vegetable, the aubergine.

Vegan version with plump juicy raisins instead of the anchovy, and a good squeeze of lemon to brighten.

If you like this recipe, why not Pin It?Weeknight pasta meals don't have to mean reaching for a sauce jar. Or a boil-in-bag pouch. Or even - God forbid - a lurid powder. With a few fresh and a few store cupboard ingredients, you and your family can quickly be tucking into a slippery, savoury pile of pasta studded with this season's must-have vegetable, the aubergine.

*This is a paid, commissioned recipe in collaboration with Barilla UK. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to continue creating and sharing recipes on food to glow.*

23 thoughts on “Pasta with Slow-Cooked Aubergines, Artichokes and Anchovies (easily vegan recipe)

  1. Ann says:

    Just bought a beautiful,shiny,purple aubergine at pesticide free Aldi. Now I know what to do with it, thanks Kellie.

    1. Such good news about Aldi! Thank you for commenting, Ann.

  2. Pinnatifid says:

    Bet this is delicious! I’m making this for lunch today!

    1. So good to hear. Thank you!

  3. Rafael says:

    I love the combination of anchovies and raisins in the pasta. Sounds really unique and delicious.
    Thanks

  4. As you know, aubergines are my world!!! I hope they don’t now become over priced and over done too!!!!

  5. Lovely post and fab competition too! I’m with you re aubergines 🙂 btw have you been to kenji sushi on st.stephen street? (I’m thinking miso aubergine here, there is a link!) If not I’m bagging a night out there with you for our festive night out 🙂 x

  6. Anchovies and raisins? Why not – simple but unique and delicious I’m sure…

  7. Such a lovely and easy dish…..looking forward to trying the aubergine and raisin combo

    1. Thanks Pam. I know it sounds a bit mad, but you don’t actually taste the anchovies, so if you WANT to taste them, just increase by about two. The anchovies just make the recipe savoury rather than fishy. 🙂

  8. Jamie Winchester says:

    Flavour combination sensation! Easy to prepare and looks great on a plate! Nice one Kellie

  9. David says:

    Love this recipe Kellie. I use Barrila pasta a lot but have not tried their wholewheat. I’ll definitely give a go

    1. Thanks, David. 🙂 I didn’t know know Barilla made wholewheat, but I was so pleased to find it in my local supermarket, lurking on the bottom shelf. I should go and rearrange their shelves to people see it. 😉 Barilla wholewheat is the best w/w I have tried. I hope you like the recipe.

  10. julietfitz says:

    You had me at eggplant! Always looking for wholewheat pasta dishes to work into the McDougall Diet! Can’t wait to try it.

    1. You and I are so alike with a taste in vegetables, and I LOVE eggplant in pasta. The wholewheat Barilla makes it super healthy too. Second helping? See you soon!!

  11. Madison says:

    Looks great!(:

    1. Thank you Madison. It’s pretty good student food – healthy and pretty cheap. 🙂

  12. Katie says:

    This has got almost my three favourite ingredients in it, anchovies, artichokes and aubergine (never egg plant….) definitely prefer the one without raisins and might even put in more anchovies as am mildly obsessed with them. Will try it on family on Sunday night to go with Planet Earth 2.

  13. Peter Kravitz says:

    The aubergine pasta looks soooo tasty!

  14. Kavey says:

    Oooh I don’t know this brand, Barilla, will look out for it. Love the alliteration of Aubergine, Artichoke and Anchovy!

  15. HedgeComber says:

    Kelly, that looks just stunning! I want to reach my fork through the screen and pinch some 🙂
    Janie x

  16. choclette says:

    Loved reading this post Kelly, it really made me chuckle. And your photos are just gorgeous. I’m only a recent convert to aubergine, but it’s good to see it being more widely used. As for pasta it’s the weekday saviour supper.

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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