Dear dear Shilpa,
finally, long overdue promise, the vegetarian version of Mario’s spaghetti al ragu di salsiccia: spaghetti alle melanzane!
Mario and Yasmina
P.S. We miss you, come over to Berlin!
What you need, for 6 people
- 3 medium, whole aubergines
- sale grosso/coarse-grain salt
- 500ml sunflower oil
- olive oil
- 1 large onions/3 small ones, finely diced
- 2 cans of tomato sauce
- 600g spaghetti
- 120g ricotta salata: we used pecorino romano instead, as ricotta salata was not available
Sweat the aubergines, around 30-45 minutes
Sweating the aubergines with salt will take out the bitterness of aubergines and bring out the natural sweetness. Use coarse-grain salt, as fine-grain salt just make the aubergines super salty and can’t be easily washed off.
Slice the aubergines into rounds. Place into colander, then sprinkle generously with coarse-grain salt. Leave to sweat. Then after 30-45 minutes, rinse each slice off with water. Don’t want salty aubergines!
Use a clean dry tea towel to press the moisture out and dry the aubergine slices. It’s important that they’re dry because the next step is to fry them in hot oil.
Fry the aubergine
In a frying pan, heat the sunflower oil. When it’s hot enough, add the aubergine slices and fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side. If they’re completely submerged in oil, you don’t need to flip them. Just fry for 6 minutes, at least.
Drain on oil rack or paper towels.
Make the sugo
Sautée the diced onions in olive oil. When they get glassy, add the fried aubergines; leave 6 slices of aubergines for garnish. Salt and pepper to taste.
Then add the tomato sauce, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir from time to time and make sure the aubergine slices break down into the sauce.
In the meantime, cook the water for the pasta. When boiling, add salt, and add the pasta. Then cook according to package instructions and drain.
Assemble everything together
Divide the pasta over 6 plates. Scoop a generous ladle of sauce over the pasta. Garnish with a slice of fried aubergine. Using the coarse-grain side, grate the cheese on the pasta and sauce.
We ate our lunch with relish, chased down with Mario’s favourite red wine: Valpolicella Ripasso. We hung out/co-worked together all afternoon, before having a Friday G&T :)
Happy Weekend, Shilpa! And everyone else reading this!