This spicy eggplant & tomato pasta sauce is mouthwateringly good!
Although they are a wee bit spendy, I prefer caper berries over capers, which are the flower buds. I find they’re less acid in taste so I tend to be quite generous with them in sauces like this. Add as many as suits your tastes, naturally. Fresh tomatoes instead of canned would work really well here, too.
Serves 4 hungry adults
2 small eggplants (aubergines) – about 500g (about 1 lb) total
1 large red onion, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 caper berries (or 12 capers), roughly chopped
2 x 400g (14 oz) cans chopped tomatoes in juice
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs parsley, leaves finely chopped
500g (about 1 lb) penne rigate (or other short pasta)
Trim the tops and bottoms of the eggplants, cut across into thirds then lengthwise into sticks about 1.5cm (about 1/2″) thick.
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry the eggplant until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with several layers of paper towel to drain, trying to leave as much of the remaining cooking oil as possible in the skillet. You may need to cook in two batches, depending on the size of your skillet.
Reheat the skillet, adding just a drop more oil if necessary, and cook the onion on low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and caper berries and cook a further 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, chilli flakes, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper and cook on very low heat until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Cook the pasta according to packet directions so it’s ready at about the time the sauce is done.
Stir the eggplant and parsley through the sauce and serve over the drained pasta.
Top with a bit of grated parmesan, if desired.