Persian-Style Pasta

Adapted from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi


Ingredients

Serves 6


3 medium eggplants (about 2 ¾ lb/ 1.2 kg in total)

½ cup / 90 gr creme fraiche (or heavy cream)

½ cup / 40 gr grated Parmesan cheese

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons lemon juice

⅔ cup / 5.3 oz / 150 gr Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons dried mint

Pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water

Handful fresh mint leaves, chopped

Olive oil

Fine grain salt

Ground black pepper to taste


1 lb / 453 gr linguine, spaghetti or thin noodles (I used Ancient Harvest quinoa spaghetti)


Directions


Preheat the oven to 450º F (230ºC) and place a rack in the middle.

Pierce the eggplants in a few places with a sharp knife and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast in the oven for about 1 hour, until the flesh is soft.

Set aside and let cool for 15 minutes.

Cut in half, spoon out the eggplant flesh into a colander, and let drain.

In the meantime, place the creme fraiche and grated Parmesan cheese in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and whisk until smooth.

Add Greek yogurt, lower the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly (you don’t want the yogurt to separate). Set aside.

In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil with dried mint and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cumin seeds and saute’ for 10 to 12 minutes until soft and golden, stirring every now and then.

Add eggplant flesh, crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of of ground black pepper. Cook for 4 minutes, until heated through.

Add lemon juice, cook for 1 further minute and remove from the heat.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and cook pasta “al dente” (it should retain a bite).

Drain, stir a bit of olive oil through the pasta, mix, and then divide among shallow bowls or plates.

Drizzle the mint oil over the top, followed by the eggplant mixtures. Top this with the creme fraiche-yogurt mixture, followed by the saffron water, chopped fresh mint, and a final drizzle of olive oil.

Serve!