Italian cuisine and pasta have
become synonymous everywhere. But somehow I have seen people here (in India) obsessed
with only two kinds of pasta – in red sauce or in white sauce. Well you can
make pastas even without the same old sauce. How about pasta with pesto? A
classic recipe from Trapani – it’s a small province of Sicily.
Italians love their pomodoro & basilico and so do I. [tomato &
basil respectively]. This is a David Rocco inspired recipe btw.
All that you need:
Tomato – 3 chopped
Garlic – 4-6 cloves
Eggplant – 1 sliced thin
Potato – 1 sliced thin
Spaghetti - 250g (you can use a pasta of your choice)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1 cup (for pesto as well as frying the
potato & eggplant)
Salt – to taste
Oregano – 1 teaspoon
Thyme – 1 teaspoon
Basil – a hand full
Pecorino cheese – as much you like!
Let’s get started:
Making this Pesto alla Trapanese
is very simple.
Put the tomatoes, garlic &
basil leaves in a grinder and coarsely grind them. Add salt and half a cup of
extra virgin olive oil to make a smooth pesto. [Traditionally these are
supposed to be done in a large stone mortar & pestle – but I don’t have it
so I am sticking to my blender]
In a frying pan heat some olive
oil and pan fry the eggplant & potato slices. [Before frying I dust them
with little salt usually, that helps is reducing the water and lessens the
frying time]. Take out of flame and drain excess oil on a kitchen paper.
Cook the spaghetti in hot boiling
salted water for 15 mins or till it’s just becoming soft. Don’t overcook it –
it will just start falling apart.
Now here’s my twist – Put the
tomato pesto in the frying pan, add the cooked spaghetti & fried potato
& eggplant and toss them together. Add some thyme and 1 ladle of the pasta
water. It really helps to get the pasta together.
Add a generous amount of grated
And you are done – add a
sprinkling of oregano and enjoy!