Home Life & Style Nigella Lawson's aubergine and feta pasta draws inspiration from Italian classic

Nigella Lawson's aubergine and feta pasta draws inspiration from Italian classic

Nigella Lawson’s aubergine and feta pasta


  • Two tablespoons olive oil
  • One small onion or banana shallot (peeled and finely chopped)
  • One clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed chillies or chilli flakes (or to taste)
  • One x 400 grams can chopped tomatoes
  • One aubergine (approx. 250g / 8oz)
  • Two teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 250 grams penne rigate
  • 100 grams feta cheese
  • One bunch basil leaves (to serve, optional)


Fill a large saucepan with water for cooking the pasta and set it over high heat to boil. Meanwhile, in another pan, ideally one large enough to accommodate both the pasta and sauce later, warm the oil. Add the finely chopped onion or shallot, stirring occasionally, and cook for about 3 minutes until softened.

Introduce the minced garlic and chili flakes, cooking alongside the onion for roughly 30 seconds, continuing to stir.

Following this, pour in the canned tomatoes, using the empty can to measure out 175ml of cold water to add to the pan. Cut the aubergine into bite-sized pieces for quicker and more uniform cooking. Incorporate the aubergine cubes into the sauce along with the balsamic vinegar. Stir well and allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil.

Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and let simmer for approximately 15 minutes until the aubergine is tender and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce finishes before the pasta, simply remove it from the heat while keeping the lid on to retain warmth.

About five minutes into the aubergine’s cooking time, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Before draining, reserve a cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Uncover the saucepan and crumble in the feta cheese.

Stir to combine, then add the drained pasta and toss together, incorporating some of the reserved pasta water as needed to achieve a cohesive texture. Replace the lid on the pan and let stand off the heat for two minutes.

Serve directly from the pan or transfer to warmed bowls, garnishing with fresh basil leaves.


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