Pasta 'ncasciata (Aubergine wrapped pasta dome)
- Preparation and cooking time
- Total time
- Ready in just over 2 hours - but worth it
- More effort
- Serves 4 - 6
Carmelita Caruana's celebrates the tastes of Sicily with this impressive pasta dome - superb for entertaining
- 1kg very ripe tomatoes or 2 x 400g cans peeled plum tomatoes , drained
- 1 garlic clove
- 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 150g packet mozzarella cheese
- 50g piece of salami , such as Milano
- 5 medium aubergines
- 85g minced veal or pork
- 85g chicken livers , cleaned and chopped if large
- 85g frozen peas
- a handful of fresh basil leaves
- 500g short pasta (such as mezze penne)
- 100g pecorino or parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve
- STEP 1
Skin and seed the fresh tomatoes, and roughly chop. Chop the canned tomatoes, if using. Fry the garlic clove in 3 tbsp olive oil over a gentle heat for 3-4 minutes until pale gold.Remove and discard. Add the tomatoes to the oil and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until well blended, stirring occasionally and adding 1 tbsp or so of water if it dries out.
- STEP 2
While the sauce cooks, dice the mozzarella into small pieces, so it will melt easily during the baking and bind the filling. Finely chop the salami. Trim the stalks from the aubergines and slice lengthways into even slices about 5mm thick.
- STEP 3
When the sauce is nearly done, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a deep frying pan and brown the mince and livers for 4-5 minutes until well coloured. Lift out with a slotted spoon and add to the tomato sauce with the peas. Cook for 10 minutes or so until you have a thick sauce, then remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta and heat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C.
- STEP 4
Dry the aubergine slices using kitchen towels. Heat a heavy ridged griddle pan and cook the slices,without using oil, for 2- 3 minutes each side until tender, 1. They will stick at first, but then come loose. As each slice is ready, brush with olive oil and use to line an oiled 2 litre/31⁄2 pint heatproof pudding basin or bowl, slightly overlapping the slices so there are no spaces, 2. If you have any aubergine left over, finely chop it and set aside.
- STEP 5
Cook the pasta in the boiling water for 3 minutes short of the time on the packet. Drain well, and gently mix with the sauce. Stir in the cheeses, the salami and any extra chopped aubergine.
- STEP 6
Spoon the filling into the aubergine lined bowl, 3, and press down gently to eliminate any gaps. Fold over the ends of the aubergine. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then rest for 10 minutes to set so that it will be easier to turn out. Put a large plate on top of the bowl and swiftly turn both the bowl and plate over.Remove the bowl and serve with extra grated cheese and black pepper.