Graham Armfield’s Aubergine pasta

The ninth in a series of posts that bring together the two sides of my blog: Food and technology. I’ve asked the great and the good from the web standards
community
to share their favourite recipes. This easy pasta dish is from Graham Armfield.

Information

Makes
Two or three helpings.
Time

Ingredients

  • 1 aubergine (diced).
  • 1 onion (diced).
  • 400g chopped tomatoes.
  • Squeeze of tomato puree.
  • 1/2 red pepper, (finely diced).
  • 35g red split lentils.
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed).
  • 1/2tsp coriander seeds.
  • 1/4tsp cumin seeds.
  • 1/2tsp oregano.
  • 1/2tsp Marmite (optional).
  • 1tsp peanut butter (optional).
  • Brown spaghetti.
  • Grated cheddar cheese.

Method

  1. If you like to salt your aubergines, do it an hour before cooking, then rinse them off thoroughly before you need them.
  2. Fry the onion and pepper with a little oil in a saucepan, stirring occasionally.
  3. When the onion becomes translucent and flexible, add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, lentils and garlic, and bring it to the boil.
  4. Add the aubergine and if nescessary add some water so the aubergine is mostly submerged, then simmer gently and stir occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile crush the coriander and cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle (or between two spoons), and add to the sauce along with the Marmite and peanut
    butter.
  6. When the aubergine and lentils are softening, bring another pan of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions.
  7. When the aubergines are soft, drain the spaghetti and spoon over the sauce, then sprinkle generously with grated cheese to serve.

Graham’s notes

This recipe is one I’ve been using for many years. I developed it when I was vegetarian in the 80s and it was inspired by the recipe book I bought from
the veggie restaurant at Sussex University. I used to love spaghetti bolognese and so it made a good substitute. We still cook it probably once every ten
days and I love the way the aubergine combines with the tomatoes and the onion when it’s cooked. The Marmite adds lower notes to the overall flavour.

Occasionally, if I have more time I will use the aubergine sauce to create a superb vegetarian lasagne. For that you’ll need to layer some lasagne sheets
with the cooked sauce in am oven-proof dish. Then make a white/cheese sauce and pour over the top – with a bit of grated cheese. Bake in the oven at 200C
for 45-50 mins until the lasagne is soft. Serve with a tomato and lettuce side salad.

With all the strong flavours about, the dish suits a red wine – maybe an oakey Rioja or Navarra.

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