If you had told me nine years ago that I would still be living in London today, I would have laughed my head off and told you you were crazy.
If you had told me nine years ago that I would someday have two adorable nephews who love me, tease me and make me laugh, I would have been thrilled.
If you had told me nine years ago that I was less than three years away from losing my mom forever, I would have been paralysed by grief.
If you had told me nine years ago that I was going to have an internationally-known blog, I would have frowned and asked you: “What is a blog?”.
A lot of things can change in nine years.
But the one thing that has not changed in nine years is the man I’ve been married to. And yes, I mean that both in the sense of his identity remaining the same, and his annoying habits likes and dislikes!
When we first started dating, he lived in a shared house and one evening after we had drinks with friends, he invited them back to his place for dinner. I was panic-stricken: I’d seen his kitchen and could not imagine what there would be by way of store cupboard ingredients that we could use to create an impromptu meal. But as it turned out, my darling was a pasta fiend and a tinned tomato fan, and the kitchen cupboards were well-stocked with both. We dined royally on a creamy tomato and garlic pasta and a green salad that night, and I could never have guessed that this would be the first of dozens, if not hundreds, of pasta meals that I would cook for us over the years we’ve known each other.
When faced with any sort of dinner menu options at CookSister HQ, Nick will always go for the pasta option. I find this a little expasperating sometimes as my metabolism does not move at the same hyperactive rate as his, and if I want to carry on fitting into my jeans, I can’t have pasta 4 nights a week :o) To try and balance out his taste for pasta and my unco-operative metabolism, I am always on the lookout for not-so-creamy pasta sauces, and this roasted aubergine and sun-dried tomato sauce is a fine example.
A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy and not too heavy – it sounds like the perfect recipe for a great pasta and a long and happy marriage. Happy anniversary, angel!
SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND ROASTED AUBERGINE PASTA (serves 2)
pasta of your choice, for 2
1 medium aubergine, cut into small cubes
pinch of red chilli flakes
1 medium onion, diced
1 heaped tsp crushed garlic (I used Very Lazy Garlic)
3/4 cup semi-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
a little plain flour
50ml single cream
a little of the pasta cooking water
salt and black pepper
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Wash and cut the aubergine into 1.5cm cubes. Spread the cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer, add about 4 Tbsp of olive oil (or enough to coat the aubergine cubes) and place in the pre-heated oven to roast for about 20 minutes.
Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions but do not discard the cooking liquid – you will need it for the sauce!
Dry-fry the chilli flakes in a saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes, then add 2 Tbsp olive oil, the onions and the garlic. Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent but not browned.
Once the aubergine is soft but not mushy, add to the saucepan, together with the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Heat through, then stir in a couple of teaspoons of flour, stirring well so that the flour absorbs all the oil/moisture in the saucepan.
Stir in the cream and mix well. To get the sauce to the desired consistency, add the pasta cooking liquid a couple of spoons at a time, stirring well between each addition. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary.
Once the pasta has been drained, return it to the pot, add the sauce and stir it through the pasta. Serve garnished with the chopped fresh basil.
I am submitting this dish as my entry into Presto Pasta Nights, the weekly carb-tastic event created by the lovely Ruth of Once Upon a Feast and hosted this week by my fab friend Katie of Thyme for Cooking. Deadline is midnight tonight!
Here are some of my other pasta dishes you might like:
– tinned salmon tagliatelle
– pasta primavera
– purple sprouting broccoli, anchovy and pecorino pasta
– Bacon, chicken liver and sherry pasta sauce