I picked up some aubergines and peppers at a market today, not locally as we only have Tesco near us, but made a trip further afield to the next town (what an adventure)! It was one of those special offers where they sell any bowl of fruit or veg for £1, and I can't resist a bargain. So I then had to find something to do with them!
I was inspired by Helen at Food Stories with her recipe for Broccoli and Anchovy Pasta with Roasted Aubergine Sauce. I am not (yet) adventurous enough to try making my own pasta, and besides I have not got a pasta maker! But her sauce provided the inspiration for tonight's dinner. The resulting sauce reminded me of some Lloyd Grossman sauces in jars that I used to eat as a student very regularly, it was really rich and tomatoey, with a nice sweet flavour which I think comes from the roasted peppers and the roasted garlic. I kept half the peppers and the courgettes whole, rather than blended, to add a chunkiness to the sauce.
This recipe is very easy to make, and you can get on with drinking wine whilst the roasting is going on as well. There should be enough sauce for 4 portions of pasta.
- 1 aubergine (egg plant)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- ~6 large cloves garlic
- 1 courgette
- 1 good handful cherry tomatoes
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tin tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Roast the vegetables in the oven for about 45 minutes at 220C, turning a couple of times throughout cooking, or until the aubergine looks done. It should resemble something like in the picture below, where the skin has sort of collapsed and gone wrinkly and the whole thing feels soft to the touch.
Whilst the roasting is going on, put the tinned tomatoes in a pan with a bay leaf, and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes to reduce them down and make into a really rich tomato sauce base.
Now, let the roasted veg cool for 5 minutes or so. Or if you are like me, burn your fingers on them whilst trying to do the next part.
Cut the aubergine in half, and scoop out the flesh into a blender. Add in half of each of the red and yellow pepper (keep the other halves to one side, along with the courgette). Squeeze the garlic cloves into the blender and discard the skins - the flesh should be really soft and just pop out of the skins now.
Add the roasted cherry tomatoes, and the olive oil from the bottom of the roasting tin. Pour in the cooked tinned tomatoes, add the herbs and blend using your trusty blender until all smooth.
Roughly chop the remaining peppers and courgette. Mix this with the smooth tomato sauce, and gently heat before serving. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
Serve over your favourite pasta, maybe with a bit of green salad as well. And this is what my finished product looked like...