Aubergines with Pasta and Cheese

I’ve had bouts of vegetarianism in my life, the first when I was a teenager living at home. Mum, bless her, embraced this wholeheartedly. She bought a book from Sainsburys, Vegetarian Meals by Rosamond Richardson. Meals from it formed my staple diet for a couple of years before I went off to university taking the book with me.

With an new interest in vegetable growing and a desire to eat more of the good stuff I’ve revisited the book. Early eighties cooking is not what it is today. I’m especially intrigued by the little tomato pies, their flavour enhanced by a packet of orange/lemon jelly. Now there’s a recipe that I’ve got to try. In the meantime I thought the aubergines with pasta and cheese might go down well.

And it did although, as usual, I deviated from the recipe. I chopped up a couple of aubergines and fried them in olive oil. You don’t need to soak them anymore to remove the bitterness. Clever plantsmen have bred that out of them. I separately fried a couple of onions and garlic and once everything was soft, mixed them together and allowed them to cook down for a while in a tin of chopped tomatoes with some added mixed herbs and salt and pepper. And do you remember that chutney I made the other day? I popped in a hearty dollop of that.

All that was left was to mix the sauce in with cooked penne and top with grated cheese, vintage cheddar of course. Ms Richardson suggested layering but bollocks to that. I baked in the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees celsius. And voila. Aubergines with pasta and cheese with a twenty first century update!

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