This dish is on repeat in our house as it’s so easy to put together and also has so much flavour. I love using eggplant ikra in so many dishes and this is just one example of how I make it for a pasta dish. This version of ikra is a bit heavier on the tomato and ‘red’ side of things! It’s got spice added in, but you can reduce that or just keep it out entirely if you prefer. Ikra is a Eastern European dip or salad that is used very often as an appetiser or as a side to other dishes. Slowly i began to use it so often in my cooking that this pasta dish combination ended up being one of our favourites. We love ikra it so it’s nearly always in my fridge! Use any pasta you wish, but I love this recipe with spaghetti or rigatoni. I’ve used smoked salt from Olsson salts to give it a nice smokey seasoning!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
2 eggplants (approximately 450g in weight)
1 onion (finely diced)
1-2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 tablespoon adjika (optional) or a teaspoon of red pepper flakes/chilli flakes
1 cup passata
grated parmesan (approximately 1 cup or however much you would like)
smoked salt (optional – can use smoked paprika instead)
1 bunch of fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
1-2 tablespoon chilli relish
salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the whole eggplants and the capsicum onto a baking tray and use a fork to pierce holes into the eggplant skin. Drizzle with plenty of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place into the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes so that the eggplants have really softened and their shape has dropped. Set aside and cool for 5 minutes then peel the skin off the eggplants and the capsicum. Remove the inside seeds of the capsicum.
- Transfer the peeled eggplants and capsicum onto a cutting board and roughly chop the cooked vegetables into a rough textured mix so that they are combined together.
- Prepare a large pot and fill with 3/4 water. Season with salt and close with a lid. Bring to the boil.
- Meanwhile heat a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook for approximately 5 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the crushed garlic, stir it through the onion and cook for 30 seconds then add the eggplant and capsicum mix in. Pour in the passata, the adjika or the chilli flakes if using instead and a good drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir through and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes or until the eggplant sauce has reduced slightly.
- Meanwhile prepare your pasta by placing it into the boiling water – cook it according to the packet instructions.
- Once the pasta is ready, strain it in a sieve then transfer the pasta back into the pot. Add the eggplant ikra in and mix it through the pasta. Divide the pasta onto the plates, top with smoked salt or a sprinkle of smoked paprika, the fresh parsley, an extra drizzle of olive oil and the parmesan cheese. Add a bit of extra chilli relish or sauce over the top if you like!