Bacon, eggplant and mozzarella in a tomato sauce give this simple pasta the flavour of a pub parmy. The breadcrumb pangrattato isn’t necessary, but tastes great.
½ cup olive oil
1 eggplant, cut into 1 cm cubes
150g diced pancetta (or bacon)
½ onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
700g tomato passata
¼ tsp salt
500g dried spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
200g fresh mozzarella, cut into 1cm cubes
For the pangrattato (optional)
2 slices stale white bread
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp finely shredded parsley
1. For the pangrattato, place the bread in a food processor and process to coarse breadcrumbs. Heat a large frying pan over low-medium heat and add the breadcrumbs, garlic and oil. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the breadcrumbs and garlic are golden brown. Season with salt and put in a large bowl to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, stir through the parsley.
2. Brush out the pan with a paper towel to remove any breadcrumbs and increase the heat to medium. Add the olive oil and eggplant and cook the eggplant for around 8 minutes until golden brown on all sides. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon, add the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes until browned and crisp.
3. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon, add the onion and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes until fragrant, then add the passata, salt and ½ cup of water. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. While the tomato sauce is cooking, cook the pasta in plenty of salted water according to the packet directions. When the pasta is al dente, transfer the pasta to the tomato sauce and add the eggplant and pancetta. Mix well to combine, then turn off the heat. Just before serving, stir through the mozzarella cubes. Serve immediately with the pangrattato (or parmesan, if you prefer).
Adam's tip Pangrattato is a great textural addition to just about any pasta dish, and there are many variations. It can be as simple as breadcrumbs and olive oil, or you can add anything from vegan nutritional yeast flakes to cubes of pancetta or bacon.
Find more of Adam Liaw's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.