Mum made this once a month, as a kid both my sister and I used to sneak into the oven and eat the crunchy bits of pasta. In later years she added aubergine and beef polpetti (meatballs), but I have since reconfigured it slightly since I was caught out once and didn’t have all the ingredients I needed. The last time I made this, leftovers was not an option so my partner and I had it for lunch and dinner on the same day as it was so good.
1 x aubergine (cut into cubes)
2 x grilled sweet red peppers (chopped)
Small pack of cubed chorizo
½ cup of black olives (pitted)
2 x buffalo mozzarella (chopped)
1 x large white onion
3 x cloves of garlic
250g vine tomato’s (blended to pulp)
3 x tbsp. red wine
½ cup of grated parmesan
1 x jar of passata
Sprig of basil
1 x tsp chilli flakes
500g rigatoni pasta
salt & pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 180/Gas Mark 3
In a pan, fry off the onions, chilli and garlic until soft and then add the chorizo and cook for 3 minutes careful not to burn. Add the pulp of the vine tomato’s, passata, basil, wine and seasoning and allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Heat some oil in a shallow pan and fry off the cubes of aubergine.
As the aubergines tend to soak in a lot of the oil, I always place them in a colander after they have been cooked to drain any excess oil whilst I cook the pasta.
Heat a pot of salted water, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 9 minutes. Note: Check cooking times of the pasta and take 2 to 3 minutes off that time otherwise the pasta will overcook when in the oven.
When ready, drain and set aside.
Combine the pasta with the aubergine, mozzarella, parmesan black olives, peppers and 3-4 ladles of sauce and mix well
Pour mixture into a baking dish (size varies) and add the rest of the sauce on top. Sprinkle with some more parmesan and some olive oil and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
You want a crunchy crust on top, but keep and eye out not to burn the topping.
When ready, set aside for 10 minutes to rest before cutting into portions.