This is a nice recipe if you fancy something different to your usual tomato pasta sauce. The aubergine adds an almost meaty texture and the chilli flakes provide their usual background warmth. This recipe comes from another of the Books for Cooks compilations, volume 6 this time, and is a dish I've made many times. This time, however, I used a different ratio of tomato and aubergine as I'd been left with just half an aubergine from another recipe (details of that to follow) and couldn't be bothered to deal with half a tin of tomatoes (I was making a half portion to serve two). I have to say I think I actually preferred this combination as I liked the extra tomatoey flavour.
The recipe below is the original, undoctored version.
Baked Spaghetti with Aubergines
(adapted from Books for Cooks volume 6, various authors)
5 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
400g tin Italian plum tomatoes, chopped (I just use a regular tin of chopped tomatoes)
2 medium aubergines (eggplants), diced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
dried chilli flakes
500g/1 lb Italian spaghetti
4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1) Warm the oil in a wide pan (with lid) over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
2) Stir in the tomatoes, aubergines and oregano. Adjust the heat to low, cover and leave to stew slowly, stirring occasionally, until thick and meltingly soft, about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and chilli.
3) Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/gas mark 5. Cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling, salted water then drain well and mix with the hot sauce.
4) Divide the pasta and sauce between four oven-proof dishes, sprinkle evenly with parmesan then bake in the oven until piping hot and turning crisp on top, about 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.