I’m on holiday at the moment in Catalunya, visiting family and friends.
The hospitality is mighty and every where that I go there’s a large lunch. This is followed by a siesta, a walk about nibbling tapas then dinner at around ten o’clock. By the time we get to dinner I am quite food fatigued. Luckily it’s not a dinner like we eat in Ireland, it’s quite moderate plate of food but all the same time my body rhythm is confused!
Yesterday’s lunch was in the hills above Castellon.
One of the guests was a market gardener and he had bought two huge bags of peppers and aubergines. These we ate in a delicious vegetable paella under the trees outside the house.and when it was time to leave I was given a large bag of vegetables which I took back to Castellon and I gave them to Carlos and Maita, my hosts. At breakfast today we discussed the possibilities for a quick lunch, settled on pasta with aubergines, and headed off to the beach for a couple of hours.
This is what we made when got home.Spaghetti with aubergines. tomato, basil and fresh goats cheese scattered on top as that was what was in the house but ricotta would do the job just as well and might be easier to get.
Spaghetti with Aubergines. tomato, basil and Ricotta
50 mls olive oil
3 cloves garlic
3-4 fatty tomatoes (fresh) or 1 can tomatoes
1 large aubergine
150-200g fresh goats cheese or fresh ricotta
a good handful of basil
100g spaghetti per person
Peel and chop the onions and garlic. Heat a pan, add the olive oil and the onions and cook for five minutes, until the onions begin to melt down. Don’t let them brown, once the onions are sizzling away turn the heat to medium. Add a little salt and the garlic. cook for a minute or two more then add the tomatoes. If you are using fresh tomatoes chop them into a dice and add. If you don’t have fresh fatty tomatoes – they must be ripe – use a can of tomatoes. Season with a little more salt and leave the sauce to bubble away for twenty to thirty minutes.
Meanwhile cut the aubergine into cubes of roughly one centimetre, put them in a bowl and sprinkle some salt over. Toss the aubergines to distribute the salt and leave aside for fifteen minutes – salted aubergines will soak up less oil when cooked. Before you cook the aubergines take a handful and give them a gentle squeeze then pat them dry with kitchen paper. Heat a large frying pan and put in a little olive oil, enough to just cover the bottom of the pan. Add the aubergines and fry at a high heat, tossing or stirring them frequently so that they cook on all sides. When the aubergines are lightly browned tip them into the sauce.
Put a large pot of water on to cook the pasta. Add a big spoon of salt when the water boils and the pasta and cook according to the instructions. The time reccommended is usually bang on some keep an eye on the clock.
Drain the pasta and put it into a large bowl. Roughly chop the basil and stir it into the sauce then tip the sauce over the pasta. FInally crumble the cheese over the top and serve.