Main, Pasta

Spicy aubergine pasta

I love aubergines – they have to be one of my favourite veggies. I use them often in pasta, as I've done here, but also can't get enough of them in curries, Middle-Eastern cooking, katsu, Greek dishes... You name it, I've chucked an aubergine in it!

This is a pretty basic recipe, but a useful one for sure. It‘s a midweek go-to, as it mostly uses store-cupboard ingredients, but tastes delicious.

Feel free to use any shape of pasta you like – I sometimes use penne, but as this is such an easy dish to make, I generally use up any leftover ends of bags of pasta that are hanging around, making it thrifty as well as delicious.



3 aubergines, diced into 1-inch chunks

3 tbsp light olive oil

7 fat cloves garlic

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 large onion, diced

½ cup pitted black olives

2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato ketchup or sugar

350-400g dried pasta of your choice

Handful fresh basil leaves

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6.
  2. Place the diced aubergine on a lined baking tray, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Give 4 of the garlic cloves a bash and add them to the tray. Sprinkle with the chilli flakes, and roughly mix to combine.
  3. Bake for about 30 mins, or until the aubergine is soft, and charred a little in places.
  4. While the aubergine is cooking, start on your sauce. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and gently sauté, stirring regularly, until soft, translucent and lightly golden.
  5. Peel and crush the remaining 3 cloves of garlic. Stir into the onion with the olives and capers, and cook for a minute or two, before adding the chopped tomatoes. Season with 1 tsp of sea salt and good grinding of black pepper.
  6. Add the tomato ketchup or sugar, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 15 mins, until the sauce has reduced and thickened a little. Check for seasoning, adjusting if needed.
  7. When the aubergine is ready, remove the tray from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins. Squish them with the back of a fork to form a paste, and add this along with the aubergine to the sauce. Stir to combine, and keep warm until you're ready to serve.
  8. Meanwhile, cook your pasta as per the packet instructions. When you drain your pasta, reserve ¼ cup of the cooking liquid, and stir it into the pasta sauce.
  9. Divide your pasta between 4 bowls, top with the aubergine sauce, and scatter over some fresh basil leaves and toasted pine nuts. A green salad makes a nice addition, too.

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