This dish from Yotum Ottolenghi is very different from the Italian pasta dishes that we’re all familiar with. As Yotam points out, Italy totally dominates the pasta scene when in fact there are pasta recipes from all over the place. Try this if you’re up for something way more exotic than spag bol.
Wine Suggestion: We chilled down a Spanish red to go with this, the Jesus Romero Rubus, a vibrant blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Syrah from one of the highest vineyards in Spain. Unoaked this wine has a delicious purity and an excellent length with deep plum flavours, hints of pepper and spice.
Iranian-style Pasta – serves 4
- 3 large aubergines (1.2 kg in total)
- 140g crème fraîche mixed with 60g of Parmesan
- 75ml of olive oil, plus a bit extra
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 150g Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp dried mint
- 500g linguine pasta
- ½ tsp saffron threads diluted with ½ tbsp of lukewarm water
- 10g fresh mint, shredded
Preheat the oven to 230ºC/210ºC Fan/Gas Mark 8.
Pierce the aubergines a few times with a sharp knife, then place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and roast in the oven for about 1 hour, or until the flesh is totally soft. Set aside to cool a bit, then cut in half and scoop out the flesh into a colander. Leave to drain for at least 30 minutes and discard the skin.
Put the crème fraîche and Parmesan mixture into a small saucepan with 75ml of water. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, stir, then set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan and place on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cumin seeds and cook for 12 minutes or until soft. Add the aubergine flesh and garlic, along with 1 tsp of salt and some black pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes before adding the lime juice. Stir for a final minute, then remove from the heat.
Add the yoghurt to the crème fraîche mixture and heat over a low flame for 5 minutes. Watch the mixture carefully – stir regularly and don’t let the pan heat too much or the yoghurt may split.
Mix the dried mint with a tbsp of the oil and set aside.
Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water according to the pack instructions or until al dente. Stir 2 tbsp of the oil through the cooked pasta and divide between shallow bowls or plates. Drizzle over the mint oil, followed by the aubergine. Top with the crème fraîche and yoghurt mixture, followed by the saffron water, fresh mint & a final drizzle of oil. Serve straight away.
(Original recipe from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2014.)