Burnt aubergine + tomato sauce

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Here’s a sauce to get your tastebuds going. The intended use for this is to liberally coat a big bowl of fresh pasta but it could be used as a smoky base for so many other exciting sauces. It’s something you have to a start prepping a little in advance as the key ingredient here is smoked aubergine, which needs to be cooked and then left to drain for a couple of hours – but don’t be put off. As the Turks now, this is one of the best things you can possibly do to an aubergine! The flavour transports me to a hot summer’s evening in Turkey… ah to dream..

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I served this over homemade tagliatelle with a dill-walnut pesto trickled on top. Delicious!

Serves 4 as a pasta sauce

You will need:

2 small-medium aubergines, leaves removed
1 small white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g passata
100ml (full bodied) red wine
2 sprigs Rosemary
Salt, pepper
3 tbspns olive oil

Method:

1 – Prep the aubergines a few hours before you want to eat. Place each directly over a naked gas flame and use tongs to ensure each aubergine burns all over. They’re done when blackened and when the flesh completely gives. Use the tongs to help direct heat towards any part of the aubergine that still feels firm.
2 – Leave the aubergines to cool slightly then peel off the blackened skins and shred the flesh into a colander. Rinse and leave to drain for a couple of hours at least.
3 – To make the sauce add half the oil to a frying pan and heat. Add the onion and cook with a pinch of salt over a medium heat til translucent.
4 – Stir in the garlic and roughly chop up the aubergine flesh. Add this to the pan along with some more salt, pepper and Rosemary. Cook for a minute then add the remaining oil, passata and wine.
5 – Leave the sauce to simmer gently for 10 minutes or so til the wine reduces, then it’s ready to serve.

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