As well as being very low in saturated fat compared to most other cheeses, ricotta is also high in calcium, a nutrient vital in keeping our teeth and bones nice and strong.
This recipe is taken from Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food. Reproduced here with permission from Penguin Random House.
Happiness Pasta with Sweet Tomato, Aubergine & Ricotta by Jamie Oliver [flexitarian]
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- 2 aubergines
- 1-2 fresh chillies
- 40 g pine nuts
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 30 g bunch of fresh basil
- olive oil
- 800 g tinned plum tomatoes
- 300 g dried wholewheat fusilli
- 200 g ricotta cheese
- 10 g parmesan
- Sit a double-layer bamboo steamer over a large pan of boiling salted water. Halve the aubergines lengthways and add to the baskets skin side up, with the whole chillies. Cover and steam for 25 minutes, or until soft and tender, then remove. Transfer the chillies to a small bowl and cover with clingfilm.
- Lightly toast the pine nuts in a large casserole pan on a medium heat, then lightly crush in a pestle and mortar. Peel and finely slice the garlic and finely chop the basil stalks, then add to the pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and return to the heat to cook until golden. Tip the tomatoes into the pan through your hands, crushing and scrunching them up as you go. Fill each tin with water, swirl it around, and add to the pan with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until reduced by half, roughly chopping and adding the aubergines for the last 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain, reserving a mugful of cooking water. Peel and deseed the chillies, then finely chop and stir into the sauce. Tear in most of the basil leaves and season to perfection. Toss the pasta and ricotta through the sauce, loosening with a little reserved water if needed. Serve with the pine nuts and remaining basil leaves scattered over, with a grating of Parmesan
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