Thick rigatoni tubes in a rich tomato pasta sauce full of the dark sweetness of black garlic and roasted squash with earthy chestnut mushrooms and aubergine.
I’ll readily admit that black garlic was an ingredient I didn’t even know existed until the day I made this. Whilst browsing ingredients in the supermarket one weekend and trying to decide what would go well with the rigatoni pasta I already had, my boyfriend announced he wanted something ‘exotic.’ The pouch of black garlic caught my eye and we agreed that seemed exotic enough. Black garlic has an almost jelly-like texture so chopping it roughly works fine. It adds an unexpected sweetness to the dish with its molasses-esque flavour.
Speaking of “exotic” ingredients, this dish also uses a coquina squash – a squash very similar to the butternut squash but cooks slightly softer and it almost became one with this sauce instead of holding in chunks. Either would work a treat in this recipe but if you can hunt down a coquina it is worth it.
400g rigatoni tubes
1 Coquina squash, cut into small cubes and roasted for 20 minutes
1 aubergine, cut into thick strips
2 onions, finely chopped
400g chestnut mushrooms, cut into thick slices
2 cans chopped tomatoes
3 cloves black garlic, chopped
Plenty of black pepper
- Preheat an oven to 200c / 180C fan / gas mark 6. Pour 2tbsp olive oil onto a baking tray. Place in the oven for around 4-5 minutes until the oil has heated up, then add the squash cubes onto the baking tray, covering well with the hot oil. Roast for twenty minutes or until browned, turning halfway.
- Whilst the squash is roasting, add the rigatoni pasta to a pan of boiling water and cook for around eight minutes or as directed on the packet. Once cooked al dente, drain well.
- Whilst the squash is roasting and the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining 2tbsp olive oil in a deep frying pan or large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions, cook for around five minutes until they have softened.
- Add the mushrooms and aubergine to the pan. Stirring well, cook for around five minutes until they have begun to brown.
- Pour the tomatoes into the pan, along with the black garlic. Once the squash has roasted, add this to the pan.
- Simmer for around fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme and stir for a further two minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Mix the drained rigatoni pasta together with the sauce until it is well coated and serve.
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