Eggplant, tomato and basil sauce with ricotta

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Eggplant, tomato and basil sauce with ricotta

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Category: First Courses, Pastas, Summer, Vegetarian

Servings: 6

Eggplant, tomato and basil sauce with ricotta

This simple sauce relies on good eggplants (aubergines), tasty, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and a good ricotta cheese. A real treat in the autumn at our cooking school in Tuscany!

Ingredients

  • 3 eggplants/aubergines
  • 300 g/10 oz ripe (but not squashy) tomatoes (Good canned tomatoes work fine for this sauce too)
  • 10-15 leaves fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, squashed but left whole
  • 200 g ricotta cheese
  • Pasta quantities are very subjective, but for a light sauce such as this one, calculate 60-80 g/2-3 oz as a starter, or 140-160 g/5-6 oz as a main course.

Instructions

  1. Slice the eggplant into thin discs. Grill, either in the oven with very little olive oil and salt, or on a griddle pan. Warning! This will take quite a long time!
  2. Leave the tomatoes in just-boiled water for a few minutes. Remove from the water and the skins should slip off easily.
  3. Dice the tomatoes.
  4. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and add the garlic.
  5. Fry for a few seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  6. Add the diced tomato and cook very little, just enough to soften the tomato (1 minute approx). Add salt and plenty of black pepper. Tear the basil leaves and add to the sauce.
  7. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water, salted just before you add the pasta. Cook it al dente (a good minute or two less than the packet instructions, until it is cooked but still firm to the bite). Keep some cooking water.
  8. In a warmed bowl, combine the tomato sauce (remove the garlic, or use a garlic press to squeeze it back into the sauce, as you prefer), ricotta and grilled eggplant. Add the pasta, a good swirl of raw olive oil, and as much cooking water as necessary to help the pasta amalgamate with the sauce.

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