- 35g flaked almonds
- 1 aubergine
- Sea salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 400g tinned cherry tomatoes
- 200ml cold water
- 200g wholewheat penne
- 50g rocket
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper
- A handful of basil, leaves only
- 100g soft goat's cheese
1. Fill a large pan with water, add a pinch of salt and put it on a high heat, covered with a lid, to come to the boil. Put a deep frying pan or wok on a medium heat and add the flaked almonds. Toast, shaking the pan every so often, for 2-3 mins till the almonds have browned. Tip into a bowl and set aside.
2. Trim the top off the aubergine and dice it into chunks around 1cm across. Warm 1 tbsp olive oil in the frying pan or wok over a medium heat, then add the aubergine and fry for 6-7 mins. Stir every so often, till the aubergine is browned and has softened a little.
3. While the aubergine fries, peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and crush or grate the garlic.
4. Scoop the aubergine out of the pan and set aside on a plate. Add another 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan with the chopped onion. Season with a small pinch of salt. Fry, stirring often, for 5 mins. Add the garlic and fry, stirring, for 1 min.
5. Return the aubergine to the pan and tip in the tin of cherry tomatoes. Half-fill the tin with water (around 200ml) and add that to the pan. Pop a lid on the pan and simmer the sauce for 15 mins, stirring every so often, till the sauce has thickened slightly and the cherry tomatoes started to burst.
6. The water in the pan should be boiling by now. Add the penne and simmer for 10-12 mins till the pasta is tender but still has a little bite.
7. While the pasta simmers, toss the rocket with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pick the leaves off the basil sprigs.
8. Drain the pasta and tip it back into the pan. Taste the aubergine sauce and add more salt or a pinch of pepper if you think it needs it. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to mix. Divide the pasta between 2 warm plates and top with the flaked almonds, the basil leaves and crumble over the goat’s cheese. Serve with the rocket on the side.