Baked rigatoni with aubergine

    55 min

    Aubergine adds a lovely flavour and texture to this hearty vegetarian pasta dish that is topped with a crisp layer of breadcrumbs and Parmesan. The rich tomato sauce could be made in advance, then the dish can be quickly assembled and baked when you wish. Serve with a green side salad.

    3 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 4 tbsp red wine
    • 2 cans chopped tomatoes in rich tomato juice, about 400 g each
    • 5 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, about 45 g (1½ oz) in total, drained and chopped
    • 1 aubergine, cut into 1 cm (½ in) cubes
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
    • 225 g (8 oz) rigatoni or other chunky pasta tube shapes, such as penne
    • 30 g (1 oz) fresh Granary breadcrumbs
    • 30 g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:35min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:55min 

    1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook gently for 4–5 minutes, stirring frequently, until it has softened and turned lightly golden. Add the garlic and cook gently for a further 1–2 minutes.
    2. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble for a few minutes, then add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the sun-dried tomatoes, aubergine and oregano. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain well.
    4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Season the tomato sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Tip the cooked pasta into a large, lightly greased ovenproof dish. Pour over the sauce and mix well together so that all the pasta is coated.
    5. Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a bowl, and sprinkle this mixture evenly over the top of the pasta. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown and crisp. Serve hot.

    Parmesan cheese

    Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.

    Each serving provides

    E, B1, C, niacin, copper, potassium, zinc, A, B6, folate, calcium, iron, selenium

    Another idea

    For a mushroom and spinach pasta bake, combine 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) chopped or sliced mushrooms, 1 small chopped onion, 500 ml (17 fl oz) vegetable stock, 150 ml (5 fl oz) dry white wine and about 10 chopped fresh sage leaves in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the cooking liquid. Mix 2 tbsp cornflour with 5 tbsp semi-skimmed milk, and gradually stir in the reserved cooking liquid. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until thickened. Stir in 3 tbsp crème fraîche, 1 tsp wholegrain mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked mushrooms and 150 g (5½ oz) baby spinach leaves. Warm gently so the spinach just wilts. Meanwhile, cook 225 g (8 oz) rigatoni or penne in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain and tip into a greased ovenproof dish. Pour over the spinach and mushroom sauce and stir to combine. Lightly toast 2 thick slices of multigrain wholemeal bread, remove the crusts and cut into cubes. Scatter these over the pasta together with 30 g (1 oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6) oven for 15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Garnish with fresh sage leaves and serve hot.

    Plus points

    *Pasta is a versatile starchy carbohydrate food, providing protein, fibre (particularly if wholemeal varieties are used), B vitamins and minerals. It is also low in fat – it is the fattening sauces often served with pasta that push up the calorie and fat content of a dish.
    *Although aubergines are low in calories, dishes using them tend to be high in fat, as the aubergines are often fried in oil, which they soak up. Cooking them in tomato juice is a clever and low-fat way to soften them, while adding additional flavour.

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