BUSIATE PASTA WITH TRAPANESE PESTO AND FRIED EGGPLANTS
for 4 persons:
- 2 big cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp almonds
- 1/2 bunch of basil
- 12-15 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 2 tbsp of Parmigiano Reggiano very finely grated
- 2 tbsp of Italian Pecorino Romano very finely grated
- 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 eggplant
- Vegetable oil for frying, preferably Sunflower oil
- 8 oz busiati (or spaghetti)
Method 1: Mortar pestle
Put the garlic, almonds and salt in the mortar pestle and crush them into a fine paste. Then add the basil leaves few at a time and keep crushing the paste until the sauce is finely ground. Then add the halved cherry tomatoes few at a time and mash them well. At the end pour the 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and both types of grated cheese and stir.
Method 2: Electric mixer/Hand mixer
Put the garlic, almonds and salt in the mixer and blend them into a fine paste. Then add the basil leaves and the halved cherry tomatoes and mix till the sauce is finely ground adding 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Then put in a bowl and add the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil and both types of grated cheese and stir.
- Wash the eggplant and cut it into 1 cm thick slices. Put the slices in a big bowl full of cold water and add a handful of sea salt. Stir and leave the slices to soak for ½ hour. This will take their natural bitterness away.
- Then drain the eggplant slices and dry them well. Shallow fry them in a frying pan with hot vegetable oil in batches and put the ready ones on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. Keep adding oil to the frying pan as needed.
- In the meantime, cook busiati following the steps on “How to cook pasta al dente”. Only in this case you will not have a pre set cooking time. This will vary on the thickness of your busiati (it should take approximately between 8 to 10 minutes). So, the best solution is to taste it! Remember, it does have to remain firm.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it and serve it with the pesto sauce on top. Add a little extra olive oil if required, some grated cheese and some slices of fried eggplant on the top.