This is my kind of comfort food. For a long time, I prepared this sauce with kidney beans and it was a firm favourite. I don’t know when it hit me to replace the beans with eggplant but hit me it did and here’s the result. Yes, there’s a lot of olive oil in it – that’s why it’s so good.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant sliced into strips 1cm wide and approx. 10cm long
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 800g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. 1 Preheat oven to 200ºC. Bake the eggplant slices for 10 to 15 minutes on a flat oven tray, turning once, until slightly browned on each side. While the eggplant is cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. 2 Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Fry the chilli flakes, oregano and smoked paprika in the oil for a minute or two. Add the tomato paste and fry for thirty seconds.
  3. 3 Add onion to the pan and fry for seven minutes.
  4. 4 When the onion is done, add the garlic, stirring for one minute. Then add the eggplant slices, stirring to coat them in the spices. Finally, add the tinned tomatoes. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add salt. (Now would be a good time to get water boiling for your pasta.)
  5. 5 Simmer the sauce for 10 to 15 minutes until it reduces to a rich consistency. Serve on top of spaghetti, or whichever pasta you prefer, with roughly chopped basil leaves and cracked pepper to garnish. Top with (vegetarian-friendly) parmesan, if desired.