Thursday 24 April 2014

Aubergine pasta bake

Aubergine pasta bake
I gave in to temptation the other week and bought an aubergine from the local discount supermarket. The British aubergines aren't in season yet but at just 69p for such a handsome specimen I just couldn't resist. In fact the rest of the ingredients for this dish also came from the aforementioned supermarket which goes to show that although such stores aren't the biggest they do stock all the vital ingredients and at much cheaper prices as well.

When I first started cooking aubergines the perceived wisdom was to slice them, place them in a colander and sprinkle salt over them to draw out the bitterness. After half an hour you needed to wash the salt off and then mop the excess water off the aubergines. Not being one for putting salt on anything and also any extra faff I dropped this method several years ago and noticed no difference in the taste of the aubergines.

One thing that you need when frying aubergines is plenty of olive oil and no substitutions allowed. Aubergines are very greedy when it comes to olive oil which is why I don't state a specific quantity in the recipe – just make sure sure you have plenty in stock. I've added mushrooms to this recipe simply because I had some that needed using up and they help to bulk out this recipe. If you don't have any or don't like them then leave them out and stick to the plain tomato sauce.

Serves 4

Equipment: Large frying pan, kitchen paper, two saucepans, oven proof dish


Olive oil
1 Large aubergine, sliced
1 Onion, chopped
Tin chopped tomatoes, 400g
Tomato purée
4 Large mushrooms, sliced
250g Dried pasta such as Penne
125-150g Mozzarella ball or pre-grated mozzarella


1. Heat about 1tbsp (15ml) of the olive oil in the frying pan.
2. Add as many of the aubergine slices that will fit into the frying pan.
3. Gently fry until the aubergines are cooked on both sides. Be careful not to let the aubergines burn. Add extra olive oil when required.
4. When the slices are browned transfer to a plate with kitchen paper on to soak up any excess oil.
5. Repeat until all the aubergine slices have been fried. Add a piece of kitchen paper between the slices.
6. In one of the saucepans add 1tbsp (15ml) of olive oil and once heated gently start to fry the onions until they begin to soften.
7. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée and mushrooms. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer.
8. Cook the pasta in the other saucepan according to the packet instructions. Once cooked drain and mix in the tomato sauce.
9. In the bottom of the oven proof dish layer half of the aubergine slices. Place on top the tomato and pasta mixture and then cover with the remaining aubergine slices. Place a slice of mozzarella on each aubergine slice or sprinkle over if using grated.
10. Either cooked under a hot grill for a few minutes or put in the oven for 10 minutes at 180°C/Gas mark 4 until the cheese starts to bubble.


  1. I love aubergine and the mozzarella on this looks divine. I remember putting salt on and then rinsing off years ago. I think they did something to the variety of aubergine to take out the naturally bitter taste as you are right.... they don't need salt anymore. Thank goodness.... it was always such a pfaff!

  2. Mushrooms and Aubergines are my all time favs and I love Pasta bakes too. The degorging process for aubergines is supposed to get the bitter edge off and reduce the amount of oil consumption but honestly after my lamb moussaka experiments over the years I don't quite agree!Thanks for linking up with the #PastaPlease challenge !


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