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Aubergine pesto pasta

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword aubergine, pasta, pesto, pine nuts, quick
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (just a drizzle)
  • 3 shallots (or 2 small onions if you dont have shallots)
  • 150 g peas (thawed)
  • 5 "nests" taglietelle pasta (or 200-300g of your favourite dried pasta)
  • 100 g ham (optional)

For the pesto

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil (I tend to use the leaves of 1 small plant, or a 30g pack of just the leaves)
  • 100 g pine nuts (or nuts of your choice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or just enough to loosen the sauce)
  • italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C. Chop your aubergine into small strips about 1.5 cm wide, although it doesn’t have to be exact. Spread onto a baking tray and drizzle with some olive oil, around 2 tbsp. Mix it around a bit so the oil coats it evenly. This is important to make your aubergine a little crispy and highlight the flavour as it roasts. Put into your oven and leave it to roast for about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put your pasta in a pan of boiling water and cook until it is ready. Follow the instructions on the packet, but I usually check mine by tasting it after about 10 minutes and it is normally done by then - a little quicker if it is fresh pasta.
  • Whilst the pasta is boiling, make your pesto. Simply combine all the pesto ingredients in a food processor, and blitz until smooth. You will probably need to use a spatula to push the sides down a couple of times to make sure it is all combined. Add a drizzle of olive oil just to make it a bit more liquidy. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the basil as finely as you can, bash the pine nuts with a pestle and mortar and mix it with the other ingredients. You can leave the nuts whole if you like, but I like the flavour of them mixed with the pesto.
  • Check to see if your pasta is cooked. Once it is, drain the water and set aside.
  • Finely slice your shallots and fry in a little olive oil in a large frying pan or saucepan. Chop the ham and add. Fry until the ham is crispy, and the shallots are brown.
  • Now check on your aubergines. They should be browned and crispy on the edges like the picture. If not, simply leave to roast for another 5-10 minutes. Once they are done, take out of the oven and add them to the ham and shallots mixture.
  • Now stir in the peas. Add your boiled pasta, and finally your pesto mixture and mix until the pesto covers all the pasta and the other ingredients are evenly distributed. The pasta can get a bit sticky and go into clumps, so I tend to chop it apart with some scissors just to make stirring and serving easier.
  • Leave on the heat for a few minutes just to ensure all the ingredients are heated thoroughly, and then serve in pasta bowls, garnishing with a couple more pine nuts if desired!