Sorry for the lack of blog posts but I haven't cooked or been anywhere new in ages. I was so busy with the end of term and then Pascal and I escaped to the sun for a week, we ate, swam, sunbathed and read - it was blissful. But it is back to reality now!!
As Arabella is with her father we decided to cook a pasta dish which she wouldn't like - something with aubergines. This is a recipe from Gennaro Contaldo's cook book - he is Jamie Oliver's mentor, friend and first ever boss. It took about 30 minutes to cook in total.
Ingredients for 2 people:
1 aubergine, trimmed and chopped
1 yellow or red pepper, deseeded and sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
200g pasta (we used dried)
1/2 a fresh red chilli, sliced (we didn't include this as we don't like spice)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
8 black olives, chopped in half
4 tbsp of baby capers, rinsed
8 ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 a bunch of fresh basil leaves, torn
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese, to serve
First things first, prepare the ingredients. Chop the aubergines into around 1cm cubes - you don't need to be too accurate! Slice the pepper length ways into strips and then cut in the middle. Finely slice the chilli, chop the olives and tomatoes into halves and quarters respectively and crush the garlic.
Boil the water in the kettle for the pasta.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the aubergine and fry for about 8 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally.
Place on a double layer of kitchen paper to drain.
Return the frying pan to the heat, add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the peppers, chilli (if using) and garlic for 3 minutes.
Next add the olives, capers and a good splash of water and cook for a further 4 minutes.
At this point I started our pasta in boiling salted water which took 8 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and tear in half the basil leaves and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Then add the aubergines and season well, mixing all together for a final 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta and stir the sauce.
Serve with some Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh basil leaves.
This tasted very Mediterranean with the combination of the vegetables and capers. I used to hate capers as a child but they really made this dish and gave it flavour. Pascal adored the pasta - it is something he would order in a restaurant. I liked it and I would do it again however I would add some mozzarella at the end - I think it would be the perfect addition melted into the dish. Bellissimo!!