• Olive oil – 6-8 tablespoons – plus a little more if needed
  • I large aubergine
  • I large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Ricotta salata cheese or a crumbly feta
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • I red chilli pepper (optional)

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Prep Time 1 Hr.
Italian recipe – the Sicilians are masters of cooking aubergine. This is from one of my Italian cook books which I have adapted over time.
It’s a fabulous quick and tasty pasta sauce which I often cook in advance – don’t be fooled by the 1 hour cooking time as once all ingredients are cooked I put it into my slow cooker of about 40 mins on high. I then switch off let it cool and re heat thoroughly for the evening or following day. It’s simple and nutritious and goes down well with my veggie friends! For me it tastes better eaten on the 2nd day – don’t ask me why!
Cut the aubergine crosswise into slices 1- 1 1/2 inches thick. In batches cook the aubergine on a high heat – you will see how the aubergine soaks up the olive oil, so keep an eye and add a bit more oil. Cook for around 6 -8 mins, gently turning often, so that you can see the aubergine is browned. Transfer into a bowl. Once all aubergine is cooked in this way, add some more oil to the pan and turn to a medium heat. Chop onion and garlic and fry together until the onion is almost see through. Now pour the aubergine back into the frying pan and turn the heat to low. Add salt and pepper and the tin of tomatoes. Cook together for 2-3 mins ensuring all heated through.
Turn slow cooker onto high, pour the ‘Alla Norma’ sauce into it cover with lid and set timer to 40 mins. Then switch off and let it cool before putting the sauce into the fridge. You can of course eat straight away, putting the spaghetti on 10 mins before the sauce finishes cooking. The pasta or spaghetti must be mixed into the sauce – so once drained tip it into the slow cooker or frying pan if re heating.
Serve with grated feta or ricotta, a large glass of red and maybe a few chillies, basil leaves and a green salad.