I rarely eat pasta, almost never bake it and definitely never switch on the oven it when it’s 33°C outside! Yet, today something made me cook pasta, patiently simmer a sauce with vegetables, boil eggs and prepare a dish which turned out perfect for such a hot summery day. I didn’t follow any recipe, but simply opened my cupboards and improvised, adding this and that. I’m really proud to say I don’t hesitate to post this recipe because I’d love to share it with all of you (with a special dedication to anchovy lovers). It was extraordinary, and even more summery, served with peperoncini sott’olio I made yesterday after MJ, my blogging friend (MJ’s Kitchen) and fellow chilli addict reminded me of them:
TIPS: You can use any vegetables you like or simply have in the fridge, but I finally found aubergine the best suited for this dish.
Obviously, if you don’t like anchovies, skip them or add cut up ham for example.
You can use any easily melting Italian cheese here; smoked scamorza or smoked provola are my favourite (try to find those which are really smoked, i.e. don’t contain “smoke aroma” in the ingredients list).
If you don’t have or don’t want to make peperoncini sott’olio (above), this dish would be delicious with a splash of chilli oil.
Preparation: about 1h30 (but it’s definitely worth it!)
Ingredients (serves four):
750 ml tomato passata or tinned chopped tomatoes or fresh skinned tomatoes simmered until they become a thick sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 big garlic cloves, chopped
1 big aubergine or 1 small courgette+1 small aubergine, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small sweet pepper (bell pepper or long red pepper), cut into bite-sized pieces
3 hard-boiled eggs
150 g mozzarella, smoked scamorza or smoked provola (or any other melting Italian cheese)
100 g canned anchovies
3 tablespoons capers
salt, pepper, thyme
(grated pecorino or parmezan)
Heat the olive oil.
Fry the garlic for one minute.
Add the sweet pepper and the aubergine (if you use courgette, add it raw to the dish just before baking).
Stir-fry for several minutes.
Add the thyme and 1/2 of the tomato sauce/chopped tomatoes.
Simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes, add salt to taste.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
In the meantime cook short pasta, taking it out of the water 3 minutes before the time indicated on the package.
In a baking dish place a layer of pasta, cover with vegetables cooked in tomato sauce.
Add courgettes, if using.
Add the remaining tomato sauce.
Cover with half slices of the eggs, capers, chunks of cheese and grate some pecorino/parmezan on top (if using).
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and slightly golden.
Just before serving sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and torn basil leaves.
Serve with pepperoncini sott’olio, if you have them.