Chilli Aubergine with Saffron Tagliatele

This photo shows the leftovers, a packed lunch treat with a soft-boiled egg and cress but the real deal (which I forgot to photograph) was hot, slippery, chilli-hot, red wine soaked chunks of buttery aubergine piled over golden strands of pasta loaded with Parmesan. All it took was a couple of aubergine, the dregs of a bottle of red wine and generous pinch of chilli. Careful cooking, ensuring the aubergine was soft to the point of gooiness is all it takes for an immensely satisfying almost store cupboard supper. Usually I salt aubergine (2 tbsp in a bowl of water, leaving immersed for minimum 20 minutes, rinse and pat dry) in the hope it will make it less absorbent. I didn’t bother this time and it was perfectly ok. La Pasta di Aldo (, available here from Ocado) is a new brand to me and available in numerous flavours, including but truffle, all rich with egg and noticeably richly flavoured. It comes in 250g boxes and cooks in 4-6 minutes.

Serves 2

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 35 min

2 aubergine, approx 300g each

2 tbsp olive oil

generous pinch chilli flakes

approx 150ml red wine

150g saffron tagliatelle

     Cut the aubergine in kebab size chunks. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a spacious sauté/frying pan over a medium heat and stir in the aubergine. Keep tossing as the pieces take colour, wilt and look dry, adjusting the heat so they can cook steadily. Eventually, after 10 minutes or so, the oil in the will leach back out of the pieces into the pan so cooking is easier. Season liberally with salt, adding the chilli flakes as the pieces look juicy and keep tossing. When buttery soft, add the wine and allow it to bubble up staining and seasoning the pieces, reduce the heat and continue until looking sloppy rather than wet as in the picture. Taste and add extra salt if you think it needs it. Leave covered until ready to serve over the tagliatelle cooked according to the instructions.