The Not Alla Norma Bake


 
I made this by accident. 

How does one accidentally bastardise Pasta Alla Norma? Well, Mr Baby was very content on his throne so I thought I’d cook a bag of pasta for use the next day. Then he was still being good, so I thought I’d put some aubergines in the oven. Then he was still so entranced by his prizes of Muslin cloth, spatula, and bowl-mummy-ate-fascinating-yoghurt-from that I was able to chuck it all together in an industrial sized tray ready to be baked the next day. It’s just as well because I dare say that tomorrow the Emperor will decide he does not wish to be anywhere near his chair and that giving him a bowl is boring. Such is the prerogative of dictators. 

Anyway, this accidental contribution to the Not Pasta series is very easy and good for catering to large numbers. If you’re a smaller party, freeze some portions or halve the ingredients. 

VEGAN OPTION Replace the cheddar with four or five tablespoons of vegan Parmesan. Personally, I have never found a vegan cheese that doesn’t make me wretch, with the exception of vegan Parmesan, mostly because I think Parmesan is more of a texture than a taste.

Emperor Baby, exercising mercy

TIME 1 hour

SERVES 5000 (maybe 6-8)

500g pasta (I like GF brown rice fusilli because I’m that kind of terrible person)

3 tins chopped tomatoes

1 punnet of cherry tomatoes

2 aubergines

1 tablespoon of butter

2 cloves of garlic

1 onion

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp basil

1 tsp cayenne pepper 

Salt and pepper

150g cheddar (always extra mature – I have never understood the point of mild cheddar) 

Optional: breadcrumbs/gluten free breadcrumbs 

RECIPE

Boil the pasta according to packet instructions.

Slice the aubergines into 1cm discs and then toss in a bowl with the butter and plenty of salt. Put on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 200 degrees.

While the aubergines bake, mix two of the tins of tomatoes through the pasta along with the cayenne, oregano and basil. 

Talk to your Dear Leader/baby.

Dice the garlic and onion and fry lightly for three minutes. Stir these into the pasta mix. Pour the mix into a large oven tray (approximately 20x30cm). Dot the pasta with the whole cherry tomatoes. 

When the aubergines are done, cover the top of the pasta with the discs, then top with the final tin of tomatoes.

Sprinkle generously with the cheddar or vegan Parmesan and finish with breadcrumbs if using. Bake for a further twenty minutes until golden brown on top. 

 Serve with green salad, or… oven chips (as a food blogger with excellent taste, I definitely did not do this).

Palace guard asleep on the job
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