Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pasta with aubergine and pine kernels - Weekend Herb Blogging

I spend my whole week thinking of a recipe that is good enough to take part in Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging event - click on the logo above to be taken to the site and find out more about it. I prepare various things and in the end I post my favourite item. This week the event is being hosted by Gretchen from Canela & Comino . I already had a lovely red pepper dish to post, but when I got the paper this morning I came across this aubergine pasta dish, and I decided that I had to prepare it because it might be worth taking it into consideration. In the end I chose this recipe. If anything because it was such a different way to prepare aubergine with pasta.

Did you know that aubergines and tomatoes are related? That’s right. They are from the same family, and some say that growing them can be similar to growing tomatoes. They don't like cold weather.
They are also known in the English speaking world as eggplant or brinjal. My friends from India always say brinjal which makes me think of 'berinjela'which is the portuguese world. Their shapes go from oval to round to sausage shaped. They also come in a variety of colours: dark purple, violet, stripy purple, yellow, white. There are big ones, little ones. When buying them it is best to look for smooth, unblemished and glossy skinned ones. They should feel firm to the touch. They are apparently not particularly high in any single vitamin or mineral. However, they do have the benefit of supplying few calories and being virtually fat free. I was amazed to read that for a while in Europe it was believed that they could cause madness, leprosy, cancer and even bad breath. Only on 18th century it was established that it was a good food item both in Italy and in France.
There are so many ways of preparing them, and I just loved this new way – new to me anyway. I got the recipe from Nigel Slater.

measure pasta for four people
2 large aubergines
Olive oil
A large handful of basil leaves
½ lemon
4 tbsp pine kernels

Preheat oven – 200oC- 180oC fan assisted. Cut each aubergine in half lenghtway, then make criss cross cuts on the flesh nearly all the way down to the skin. Brush with olive oil and bake for 25 minutes or until soft.
Boil the water for the pasta and whilst that is getting ready toast the pine nuts on a non stick frying pan.
When ready scrape the flesh out of the aubergine skins to a mixing bowl. Pour the olive oil gradually mixing it with the aubergine flesh until you get to a smooth paste. Season it to taste. I used salt and black pepper but next time I might use some cumin.
Drain the pasta, and mix it with the aubergine to coat it really well. Add shredded basil and the pine nuts. Be generous with them as they add a lovely nutty taste to the dish. As a last touch squeeze a wee bit of lemon. That will bring all the flavours together. Enjoy!!!


lululu said...

Make eggplant paste to go with pasta, it's really an invention to me. I'd have to try it!!! yummy!!

Cynthia said...

Well I would say that you came out with a hit after all of that thinking.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That is different! And it looks really excellent. I can see why you'd give it your vote.

Kalyn Denny said...

My garden is bursting with eggplant right now. In fact I have four of them sitting on my kitchen table that need to be used. Love the sound of this, and I love learning the word in Portugese too.

Anonymous said...

very interesting post! delicious-sounding, too! yum!


VeggieWiz said...

That's the first time i've come across pasta and aubergine in the same recipe.....sounds really interesting......have to try it!