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!
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.