Smoky eggplant tortellini with lemon

aubergine ravioli, vegetarian recipe

When I first experimented with eggplant tortellini, I was simply in the mood to have fresh pasta while simultaneously having sworn off butter sauce – ie the reason I usually made fresh pasta. I’m not typically someone who swears things off, but after a particular incident involving my boyfriend Pieter and I devouring an entire batch of Julia Child’s beurre blanc (meant to serve six) and subsequently having heart palpitations, I knew I had to stick with it.

Naturally, my brain went for the next best thing: the buttery goodness of roasted eggplant. A quick Google brought me this recipe (in French) and, with a few tweaks, my little heart stomach was soon singing with delight.

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but this pasta is super delicious. Blackening the eggplant in the oven gives it a nice smoky depth, which pairs wonderfully with a bit of bright lemon and, naturally, a good grating of cheese. Mixed with the fresh tomato sauce, this is a surprisingly light and summer-y dish while at the same time feeling quite indulgent – something I’m typically looking for if I’m going to be rolling out my own pasta!

eggplant tortellini, vegetarian recipe

eggplant tortellini, vegetarian recipe

eggplant tortellini, vegetarian recipe

I won’t lie to you: this is not a ‘quick’ recipe. As someone who absolutely loves to indulge and get lost in cooking for a couple hours, this is part of its charm for me. However, if you’re not like that – and I suspect more people aren’t than are! – then there are a few things you can do to speed things up. First, either use pre-made pasta or prepare your own the day before, to be rolled before serving. Second, char your aubergines and scoop out their flesh in advance (it’ll keep in the fridge for at least 2 days with a splash of lemon juice). And third, prep your tomatoes in advance – or simply use canned. Canned tomatoes don’t quite have the same brightness to them but they do make an excellent sauce.

To make the pasta I stick to the 3-2-1 method. 3 eggs, 2 cups of all-purpose flour, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Mix it all up and you’re set! I don’t want to get into a pasta-making tutorial here, so here is a very extensive guide if you’d like to learn the proper way. My only bit of advice: don’t be afraid to screw it up! Too sticky? Add more flour. Too dry? Add a splash of water. Even after the dough’s been rested or even rolled. I promise you won’t have ruined anything.

Also, if you don’t want to make your own pasta and don’t have access to any at your grocery store, you can use frozen wonton wrappers (thawed, of course) and nobody will know the difference.

eggplant tortellini, vegetarian recipe

eggplant tortellini, vegetarian recipe

Smoky eggplant tortellini with lemon

Yield: serves 2 as a main, 4 as an entrée

Smoky eggplant tortellini with lemon

Ingredients

For the filling
2 large eggplants (aubergines)
juice and zest of half a lemon (about 1 tbsp of juice)
½ cup grated pecorino romano
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
For the fresh tomato sauce
5 fresh tomatoes
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
handful fresh torn basil
crack of chilli flakes (optional)
salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

For the filling
1. First, you need to blacken your eggplants. I do this by poking a few holes through their skin and then popping them under the broiler in my oven. I then flip them a couple times until all sides are nicely wrinkled, split and blackened – this takes about 50-60 minutes. If you have a gas stove, you can achieve the same thing much more quickly by simply placing your aubergines directly over the flame and flipping them to evenly toast all sides.
2. Prep all of your other ingredients and pop them into a medium-sized bowl.
3. When your eggplants are ready and have cooled down enough for you to bear touching them, split them into halves length-wise and use a spoon to scoop out all of the flesh. Pop the flesh into a sieve and salt it generously, then leave to drain over a bowl for about 10 minutes. This will ensure that your tortellini isn’t too wet.
4. Finally, add the eggplant to the rest of the filling ingredients and use a hand blender or food processor to combine into a still-chunky mixture.
For the sauce
1. Blanch the tomatoes for a minute in hot water, then run immediately under cold water to stop them from cooking further. This will allow you to easily peel the skins off. Give them a rough dice, keeping the seeds and juices, and reserve. (You can skip this step and simply dice your tomatoes raw, but the texture of your sauce will be less smooth.)
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, add your olive oil and diced onion. Sauté until translucent, then add the garlic, s&p and chili flakes, if using, and cook for another minute.
3. Toss in the diced tomatoes, then cover and let everything come to a simmer. Remove lid and let cook for another 10-15 minutes, until most of the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated and you are left with a nice chunky sauce. You can use the back of your spoon to smash any pieces of tomato that are too big or too hard for your liking.
4. Right before serving, tear in some fresh basil.
*If your tomatoes are not ripe enough, you may want to add about 1-2 tsp of sugar to counter-balance their acidity.
Making the tortellini
1. Place a sheet of rolled pasta dough onto your floured surface.
2. Using a cup or whatever circular instrument you have on hand, cut out as many circles as you can in the dough.
3. Place a small amount of filling onto the centre of each circle. Fold the circle into a half-moon, gently pressing the dough together to encase the filling.
4. Bring the two corners of the half-moon together so that they are slightly overlapping, and then press them down to stick them together.
5. Cook in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes. This will depend on the thickness of your pasta, but as a rule: less cooking time is better than more!
*There's a great step-by-step, illustrated guide to making tortellini on The Kitchn - definitely worth checking out.
http://feastwithsophie.com/index.php/2015/08/06/smoky-eggplant-tortellini-with-lemon/

Comments

    • sophie says

      Hah, thank you!! I’m glad you think so – while I was editing the pictures (for the third time) I still thought they looked rather sloppy, but I decided to go with ‘rustic’ instead 😛

    • sophie says

      You should!! It’s not as hard and scary as it’s made out to be, and it’s so rewarding! Although I won’t lie, it is time consuming 😛 In the fall and winter though it is especially worth it, because you can make heavenly pumpkin ravioli and other delights like that and still keep them quite healthy!

  1. says

    OMG, I love this recipe so much! I am quite addicted to baba ghanoush so I know for a fact that I’ll like this recipe. Can’t wait to try it :) BTW, your website is absolutely gorgeous! I can’t believe you started less than 2 months ago. What?!? #imjealous

    • sophie says

      Thank you so much Karrie, this comment made my day!! Such a huge compliment 😀

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