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As my mum would say, we don’t know who Norma is but her Sicilian pasta sauce is divine and feels like a big warm hug from your nonna.

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ a bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon baby capers
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 x 400 g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 50 g pecorino cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil

Method

Chop the aubergines into rough 2cm chunks. Place into a colander in the sink, sprinkle with sea salt to draw out the moisture, then set aside for around 20 minutes.

Peel and finely slice the garlic, then pick the basil leaves and finely slice the stalks.

Rinse the aubergine and pat dry with kitchen paper, then place into a large bowl with the oregano, chilli flakes, a splash of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Toss together well.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the aubergines in a single layer, and fry for 5 to 8 minutes, or until softened and golden, stirring occasionally (you may need to do this in batches).

Add another splash of olive oil, followed by the garlic, capers and basil stalks, then cook for a further 2 minutes, or until golden.

Stir in the vinegar and the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until thick and glossy.

Cook enough spaghetti for four people in a pan of boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until al dente, which means that it should be soft enough to eat, but still have a bit of bite and firmness to it.

Drain the spaghetti, reserving a cupful of the cooking water, then add a good splash of the reserved water to the aubergine sauce.

Finely grate in half the cheese and tear in most of the reserved basil leaves. Add a lug of extra virgin olive oil, then season to taste.

Add the spaghetti to the sauce and toss well, adding an extra splash of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed.

Divide between your bowls, grate over the remaining cheese and finish with the remaining basil scattered on top.