Who would believe that you can cook an authentic Italian meal for four with an aubergine, a clove or two of garlic, a punnet of cherry tomatoes and a few other flavourings but you can, and easily in under 10 minutes. We’re always astounded to see a meal that costs so little to cook costing a conservative €13 or €14 euro per person in a restaurant. Set the table at home, open a decent bottle of wine and pretend that you are on a warm terrace in Italy and tuck in.
Serves 4 (recipe halves or doubles easily)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 aubergine, cut into small chunks
2 cloves garlic, sliced finely
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red chilli, sliced finely
12 basil leaves
Freshly grated Parmesan to serve
1. Cook the penne according to the packet instructions in lots of salted water.
2. While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil to a large frying pan, turn the heat to high, add the aubergine and cook until golden. You may need to do it in two batches. Keep the heat high or the aubergine will soak up too much oil.
4. Turn the heat to medium, add the garlic, cherry tomatoes and chilli and half the basil leaves. Cook for a few minutes until the garlic is just golden and the tomatoes have wilted.
3. Toss the drained cooked penne in the pan with the aubergine mixture, adding a spoon or two of the starchy cooking water to make a sauce. Serve immediately in bowls with Parmesan and garnish with the rest of the basil leaves.
VEGAN RECIPE | For a Vegan version of this pasta dish, omit the Parmesan.