Tortiglioni con Melanzane alla Griglia e Pomodori Secchi
Tortiglioni with Grilled Aubergine and Sun Dried Tomatoes
The days are getting shorter, it's getting darker earlier, the weather is getting cooler and the promise of hearty and satisfying comfort- food like lasagne and other pasta bakes is in the air. The Fall will be with us before we know it I fear. But I am sure we will still have a few days left in which to enjoy some lighter dishes- and this is a lighter-than-light Vegetarian pasta dish that tips it's hat to the last of the Summer sunshine and says, "thanks for nothing!". We had something like... 2 weeks of sun maybe in all! Oh well- at least we got to enjoy some nice, Summery meals like this one here for example... and the best thing about it is that it is so quick and easy to make! Now that's something different and new coming from me, isn't it?
Ok- all kidding aside, let's get our saucepan on the heat and the water boiling for our pasta and the grill pan hot and ready for the aubergine. Slice the aubergine thinly and sprinkle it with salt- let it soak in the salt for 5-6 minutes and you will see it give off the bitter juices, which will rise to the surface. Wring the aubergine out carefully and then place the slices onto the hot grill pan... no oil! Don't worry... nothing is going to happen for a while- the heat will bring more moisture out of the eggplant and it is going to become soft and moist before we get around to browning it off. So pop your noodles in to cook instead and leave the aubergine be- don't move it around and you will get those nice grill markings on it.
The aubergine can be flipped over after 2-3 minutes, after which time you can add a little olive oil and a some finely chopped garlic, salt, lemon pepper and nutmeg. It is all about timing here, so keep your eye on that pasta, but in the meantime, slice a couple of sun dried tomatoes so that they are ready to go into the mix. Once the pasta is "al dente", pour off most of the water, return to the heat and add the sun dried tomatoes, a little olive oil and a good handful of freshly, finely chopped parsley. Grate with nutmeg and stir well. There should be enough moisture in the saucepan to make the tomatoes become nice and juicy within a minute or so. Now add the aubergine and garlic and stir together- serve on a deep dish with some fresh basil, some finely shave Parmesan cheese, a last grind of fresh pepper and a drizzle of olive oil... Buon apetito!