This dish has evolved in my kitchen from the classic pasta alla norma into something that probably no self-respecting Sicilian would associate themselves with. Their loss.
In case you’re wondering where the differences lie, I’ve added some other veg to the aubergines. And I roast them instead of frying (it’s easier and uses less oil). Oh, and I don’t use any fresh basil – although you could, there’s nothing to stop you. Um, and there’s no cheese in my version – but again, go wild with the dairy products if that’s your thing.
I hope the mafia don’t read this. Are there penalties for tinkering with classic pasta recipes? At least I haven’t actually called it pasta alla norma. Then I probably would be in trouble.
Incidentally, Kipper had been having an intermittent mega-strop while I was cooking this, for reasons best known to herself (including but not limited to: the stickers she had stuck on and peeled off and stuck on and peeled off and stuck on and peeled off… were no longer sticky; the cake I’d drawn a picture of – to her exacting specifications – was the wrong shade of pink; the peel of her tangerine had come off in too many pieces; Daddy wasn’t home, and then he was home; she wanted metal cutlery and not plastic cutlery…) but when she finally sat at the table for dinner she was instantly transformed into a perfect, smiling angelic child, by the simple application of spaghetti and aubergines. I should keep some on hand at all times, just in case.
This amount of roasted vegetables was polished off by two adults and one small but determined aubergine-eater.
Pasta with roasted vegetables & tomato sauce
You will need:
5 small onions or shallots – about 200g
1 medium aubergine – about 350g
150g small mushrooms
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp herbs de Provence
0.25 tsp hot smoked paprika
Pasta and basic tomato sauce to serve
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Peel and quarter the onions.
Remove the stalk and leaves from the aubergine and cut into 2cm cubes.
Cut the mushrooms into halves or quarters, depending on their size.
Put all the above into a roasting tin, add the oil, herbs and paprika and toss everything together thoroughly. Roast for 40-45 minutes until cooked through and browning at the edges. If you can be bothered, remove from the oven once or twice during cooking and stir everything around.
While the vegetables are roasting, make the tomato sauce and cook the pasta.
Serve the roasted vegetables on top of the pasta and tomato sauce.