This Tomato, Eggplant & Ricotta with Zoodles recipe is a variation on Jamie Oliver’s Happiness Pasta recipe in his Everyday Superfood Cookbook and it certainly gave me happiness enjoying it in the sunshine with a glass of red wine. It is a perfect vegetarian meal to wow guests with, especially if you have grown the vegetables and made the ricotta yourself.
2 eggplants (or aubergine)
40g pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh basil
800g tomatoes (can use frozen or tinned tomatoes)
1 tsp chilli powder (or more to taste)
200g ricotta cheese
10g Parmesan cheese
4 Zucchini (courgettes) to make Zoodles using a spiraliser.
Sit a double-layer bamboo steamer over a large pan of boiling salted water. I used a colander in a large pan.
Halve the aubergines lengthways and add to the baskets skin side up. Cover and steam for 25 minutes, or until soft and tender, then remove.
Lightly toast the pine nuts in a large casserole pan on a medium heat, then lightly crush in a pestle and mortar.
Peel and finely slice the garlic and shallots, and finely chop the basil stalks, then add to the pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and return to the heat to cook until golden.
Peel and core the tomatoes, then chop into pieces. Add to the pan with the chilli and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until reduced by half, roughly chopping and adding the aubergines for the last 10 minutes.
Tear in most of the basil leaves. Toss the zoodles and ricotta through the sauce, loosening with a little reserved water if needed. Serve with the pine nuts, black olives and remaining basil leaves scattered over, with a grating of Parmesan.