If pasta soaked in sauce with juicy, rich ingredients is your thing, then I think you’ll love this Aubergine and Sage Spaghetti Marinara.
An incredibly satisfying bowl to dive into, it’s the opening act to your Autumn dinners; full of warmth, spice, earthy flavours and just so comforting.
Do you remember when I described how the pesto I fell in love with acted like a tangy cheese when paired with a great pasta sauce? Well this is that dish. The zing of sun dried tomatoes and lemon really set off the deep, full-bodied flavours of this sauce.
And sage with aubergine! What a beautiful combination.
So what makes this such a dream-boat of a pasta dish? Well, it’s:
- deeply spiced with a hint of smoke from the toasted paprika and cumin of the marinara;
- slightly sweet and tangy from the tomatoes;
- rich and fragrant from the combination of mushrooms, sage and aubergine (perfection!);
- nutty and autumnal from the spelt spaghetti, which really carries the bold sauce; and
- ultimately a satisfying, filling bowl of happiness that will take the chill out of the coming months.
I don’t often eat pasta, usually opting for a pile of tenderstem brocolli, green beans or quinoa instead, but sometimes I really just want a heap of sauce-drenched, savoury, juicy, wrap-you-in-a-blanket spaghetti. (Don’t we all?) So when I do, I make this, and I choose a nutritionally beneficial type of pasta like spelt to make it count.
So as well as scoring top marks on taste, this recipe is:
- bursting with the vitamins and goodness of cooked tomatoes;
- made with a whole-grain pasta, which is higher in fibre and protein than semolina varieties;
- rich in the nutrients contained in pumpkin seeds, including magnesium, zinc and copper;
- simple to make; and
- a great new recipe for cooking aubergines that doesn’t require a puddle of oil!
If you don’t already have the marinara sauce and pesto pre-made and stored in the fridge (and really, you should, they both come in so handy for throwing together a mid-week dinner), then this dish will take a little longer to prepare, but not much.
And it is so worth it. All you need to do in advance is make the sauce and put it aside while you’re sautéing the gorgeous cubes of aubergine. The pesto only takes a few minutes to prepare, so this can be done while everything else is bubbling away and filling your kitchen with the aroma of heaven.
What could be better after a weekend wander, a glass of red wine and a cosy night in? This is the Saturday evening dinner you’ve been dreaming of.
So farewell, August, this is the taste of things to come – of hazy sunlight, jumpers, boots, a crisp to the air and all the Autumn I can absorb.
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 aubergine (eggplant)
- 100g wild mushrooms (or other variety e.g. chestnut)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 10 fresh sage leaves
- 150g wholewheat or spelt spaghetti plus water for cooking
- 1 jar / 500ml Spicy Marinara Sauce
- 2 tbsp Pumpkin Seed & Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
- Optional: fresh basil leaves to garnish
- On a medium to high heat, warm 1 tsp of the olive oil in a large, non-stick pan. Slice the mushrooms and the garlic and add these to the pan.
- While the mushrooms and garlic are sautéing, chop the aubergine into cubes no larger than 1cm. Add the second tsp of oil and the aubergine cubes to the pan and give it a good stir.
- Cook for about 10 minutes, until the aubergine cubes are lightly browned and soft. Roughly chop the sage leaves and add these too.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the spaghetti.
- You can now stir the marinara sauce into the pan with the aubergines and lower the heat, so it can bubble away while the spaghetti cooks.
- Around 5 minutes before the pasta is ready spoon some of the pasta cooking water into the sauce until you have a consistency you're happy with. The aubergines suck up a lot of the sauce, so this helps to loosen it all up again.
- Once the spaghetti is ready drain it and add it to the sauce. Give it all a nice stir and spoon into bowls. To serve, dot the pesto around the bowl and sprinkle on some fresh basil.
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