This Pasta with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Aubergine is probably one of my favourite late summer pasta dishes. The tomato sauce is very tasty with pieces of aubergine that melt in your mouth. I love using orecchiette because the sauce is trapped in the hollow part and when you take a bite there is always extra sauce. It’s great for any day of the week, to make extra for a packed lunch or to freeze and have it on hand any other day!
Pst… it’s one of those sauces that made ahead is even better. The flavours settle and get enhanced, a classic grandma recipe :).
I think that by now you’ll have realised that I am a fan of slow-cooked recipes, those that Spanish grandmas started to cook in the morning and simmered until lunch time, and then we all gobbled them up literally in the blink of an eye.
At Paula’s Apron I always try to make doable and flavorful recipes so that hopefully everyone is encouraged to cook, but sometimes I find that even if a recipe is easy I really can’t shorten the time, as is the case with the Homemade Tomato Sauce with Aubergine. In summer, I make it very often at home and it is so delicious that not uploading it here wasn’t an option.
As a curiosity, if you top it with grated salty ricotta (ricotta salata), and change the herbs for fresh basil, we have a version of the classic Sicilian Pasta alla Norma. I shared this recipe about a year ago on Instagram and shortly after we went on vacation to Sicily, where I really enjoyed Pasta alla Norma. Aubergine and tomatoes are staple ingredients of the island, you find them in all the markets and menus, and they taste heavenly. In any case, I promise that today’s version is as good if not better (besides the fact that outside of Sicily it’s so difficult to find ricotta salata 🙁 ).
Pasta with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Aubergine Ingredients
- Onion: a must in any good tomato sauce.
- Garlic: I love it in any type of sauce, such a Mediterranean staple.
- Aubergine: the summer addition of today’s sauce. It brings more flavour, texture and nutrients to the dish.
- White Wine: it adds depth of flavour. You can use white or red, but since it’s a summer version of tomato sauce, I find white wine lighter.
- Tomato: I have used canned tomatoes for ease of use since they are already peeled, but you can easily use fresh tomatoes. If that’s the case, I’d recommend that you scald them first and peel them. Alternatively you can use the same weight of crushed tomato or passata.
- Tomato Paste: the key to the tomato taste intensity in this recipe.
- Herbs: I have used the classic Mediterranean combination of thyme, oregano, rosemary and basil. I’ve used dried herbs because one needs less quantity to get the same aroma intensity, but feel free to use fresh if you prefer.
- Salt and black pepper: as I always say, they enhance all the flavours.
- Extra virgin olive oil: necessary for frying.
- Pasta: you can use the one you like the most, but I have opted for orecchiette because it has that little hole in the center that always holds up extra sauce.
- Parmesan: the final touch, you cannot miss a little bit of cheese. If you have ricotta salata on hand, please use it instead. Pecorino or Manchego cheeses would also work great.
Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Homemade Tomato Sauce with Aubergine
There are a couple of things that I would like to share with you so that you end up with a perfect sauce, although I really do promise that it’s very easy.
- Do not add the tomato until the aubergine is soft. There’s nothing worse than taking an aubergine bite and getting that rubbery texture of not fully cooked aubergine, it really ruins your dish. For the aubergine to be just right, sauté it with the onion until soft (adding oil helps) and then add the tomatoes. If you add the tomatoes too soon, then they’ll need much longer to soften. Alternatively, you can speed up the process by first heating the aubergine cubes in the microwave.
- Make the most of the tomatoes. You can fill up the tomato cans with water once empty and use the resulting “tomatoey water” in the sauce. No waste :).
Some Ideas to Use This Homemade Tomato Sauce with Aubergine
Tomato sauce goes well with a thousand dishes and also makes an incredible “freezer staple”. What to use it with?
- Chicken breasts, making them a little more interesting.
- White fish, such as hake or cod. Pan fry the fish with a little olive oil and finish cooking it into the sauce.
- Pizza sauce base.
- Courgetti (zoodles)
- Mashed potatoes.
Can I Make It Ahead?
Of course! For hearty sauces like this one, we always need to bear 2 things in mind. On the one hand, resting time allows for the flavours to settle, making them more cohesive with each other as well, so cooking these sauces a day before eating them is ideal. On the other hand, they tend to be freezer-friendly, so in addition to making them in advance, it’s worth cooking up a large quantity and freezing it for another day. Next time we save time and since it can be used in many ways, one doesn’t get bored.
More Summery Pasta Recipes You’ll Love
If you make this Pasta with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Aubergine recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rate it. Hearing from you is everything! Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
Pasta with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Aubergine
- 600 g pasta - I have used orecchiette
- 100 g onion - (1/2 medium onion) finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
- 320 g aubergine - (1 medium aubergine) diced
- 50 ml white wine
- 660 g canned tomatoes - weight with the juices, a bit more or less won’t really change the recipe
- 170 g tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried basil
- Black Pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Parmesan - grated
- Cover the bottom of a large pan with olive oil. Heat over medium heat and once hot add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes until translucent.
- Add the garlic and aubergine. Season with some salt and black pepper and cook for 10 minutes until the aubergine has slightly softened and looks golden.
- Add the wine and cook for about 5 minutes until it has evaporated. At this point the aubergine should be quite soft.
- Stir in the canned tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs with another pinch of salt. Fill the cans with water to collect all the tomato goodness and pour it into the pan. Simmer at low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until you get a thicker sauce and the aubergine is completely soft. Stir every now and then and if you see that the sauce has thickened already but the aubergine is not soft yet, add more water, one glass at a time. Adjust saltiness and sweetness (some tomatoes may be quite acid and require some sugar to compensate for it).
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to the boil, add a tablespoon of salt and cook the pasta as per the package instructions. Scoop out a glass of pasta water, then drain it and mix it with the sauce. If it’s too thick, you can thin it out with the pasta water.
- Serve with some grated parmesan on top and enjoy!
- The sauce freezes really well. Keep any leftover sauce in jars or air-tight containers and freeze, or make extra sauce.