Lynda Booth's Baked Rigatoni

Tomato Sauce, Aubergine & Melting Mozzarella Rigatoni

Serves 4-6

2 aubergines, cut into 2cm chunks
3 tbsp olive oil

For the tomato sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthways
1 jar of tomato passata (750ml) or 2 x 400g tins tomatoes, pur?ed and sieved
1 tsp sugar
? tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp fresh oregano or - tsp dried
125g fresh mozzarella packed in brine, drained
6-8 basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
400g rigatoni (or penne)
Parmesan, freshly grated
125g buffalo mozzarella (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220?C/200?C fan/gas mark 4.


To roast the aubergines
Toss the aubergine chunks with olive oil, season with salt and place on a roasting tray. Roast in the oven until completely tender and lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.

For the tomato sauce
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the sliced garlic. Cook the garlic for 10-20 seconds until it is just beginning to catch colour at the edges and then add the passata or pur?ed tomatoes. Mix in the sugar, chilli flakes and oregano and season with salt. Simmer until the tomatoes have reduced to a thickish sauce, about 15 minutes. Chop the fresh mozzarella into rough pieces. Stir into the sauce until it melts and add the basil.

To cook the pasta
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil with about 4 litres water and 1? tbsp salt. Cook the rigatoni until al dente and then drain, keeping back a little of the pasta water. Place the pasta back in the pot and mix in the tomato sauce, a generous splash of pasta water, one or two fistfuls of grated Parmesan and the aubergine. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with a dusting of Parmesan. Break the buffalo mozzarella into chunks (if using) and scatter over the top. Garnish with some torn basil leaves.

Extracted from Fearless Food: A Guide to Culinary Courage by Lynda Booth (Dublin Cookery School, €29.99), Photography by Joanne Murphy.




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