– by Nicola Graimes

Pack of Pasta (and Noodles)
So simple, so versatile, so economical: a pack of pasta is the perfect foundation for many meat-free meals. In this chapter, it’s at the heart of the Linguine Carbonara with Crispy Capers, Tagliatelle with Asparagus and Wild Garlic Pesto, and Creamy Porcini and Sea Beet Orzo. Let’s not forget noodles, either, which are equally diverse. For starters, there’s Wonton Ravioli with Rocket, Pho with Kale Chips, and Burmese Noodle, Tofu and Winter Greens Curry. All completely different dishes, yet with a common theme.
The taste of this pasta dish belies the fact that it’s made from humble, simple ingredients. Even the aubergine skin does not go to waste, as it’s cut into thin strips, fried until crisp and piled on top of the pasta just before serving.

2-Spaghetti+Aubergine,Cheese&Mint amend 2

Spaghetti with Aubergine, Cheese and Mint

Ingredients: ; 2 aubergines; 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling; 400g/14oz dried spaghetti; 1 onion, finely chopped; 1 garlic clove, finely chopped; 4 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped; 1 tbsp tomato pur.e; 125g/4.oz/1 cup drained tinned chickpeas or cooked dried chickpeas (see pages 8–9); 1 handful of mint leaves; sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; 40g/1.oz mature vegetarian sheep’s cheese, grated, to serve.

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the aubergines in strips. Cut the skin into thin strips and dice the flesh. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat and fry the aubergine skin for 2–3 minutes until crisp, then remove using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Add the diced aubergine to the pan and fry for 8 minutes, or until light golden all over.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti following the pack instructions. Drain, reserving 6 tablespoons of the cooking water.

Add the onion to the aubergine and cook for another 8 minutes until softened, then add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato purée and chickpeas. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often and adding enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen the mixture and make a sauce.

Just before serving, stir in the mint and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce on top of the pasta, drizzle with a little extra oil and serve with the fried aubergine skin and cheese piled on top.

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Nicola Graimes
Veggienomics
Available from Nourish Books
£14.99

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