You are currently viewing Learn to Cook – Session 2; Pasta; Aubergine Parmigiana; Bruschetta; Mushroom Sauce

Learn to Cook – Session 2; Pasta; Aubergine Parmigiana; Bruschetta; Mushroom Sauce

Aubergine Parmigiana

Serves 4-6 (main
course/side dish)

1.5kg aubergines
Fine salt
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
800g good tinned tomatoes
150ml red wine
Pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Oil, to fry
200g mozzarella, thinly sliced
125g Parmesan, grated
50g breadcrumbs
Handful of basil leaves

Cut the aubergines
lengthways into 5mm slices, sprinkle with salt and leave in a colander to drain
for half an hour.

Meanwhile, heat the
olive oil in a medium pan over a medium-high heat and add the garlic. Fry for a
minute, then tip in the tomatoes and wine. Bring to the boil, mashing the
tomatoes, stir and then turn down the heat slightly. Add a pinch of sugar, a
little seasoning and the oregano, and simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Puree until smooth.

Preheat the oven to
180C. Put a large pan of water on to boil if you’re feeling healthy. Rinse the
aubergines well, and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Pour enough oil into a
frying pan to coat the bottom well, and put on a high heat. Fry half (healthy)
or all (not), of the aubergine slices until golden brown on both sides, working
in batches. Put the cooked slices on paper towel to drain. Blanch the other
half, if necessary, in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain well.

Lightly grease a
baking dish and spread with a thin layer of tomato sauce, followed by a layer
of aubergines (packing them tightly), mozzarella, Parmesan and seasoning. Add
another layer of aubergines, followed by tomato sauce, the cheeses and
seasoning. Repeat this order until you have used up all the aubergine, finishing
with a layer of sauce (you may not need all the sauce) – keep a little Parmesan
back for the top.

Toss the
breadcrumbs with a little olive oil and Parmesan and sprinkle on top. Bake for
about 30 minutes, until bubbling and browned, then allow to cool slightly and
sprinkle with torn basil before serving.

Tagliatelle with a Mushroom Cream Sauce

  1. 300g tagliatelle (cooked

  2. according to package instructions)
  3. 250g brown mushrooms, sliced
  4. 2 sprigs

  5. thyme, leaves picked
  6. 3 cloves

  7. garlic, minced
  8. 1 shallot, finely diced
  9. 300ml single cream
  10. ½ bunch parsley, chopped
  11. 1 lemon, juice
  12. *Himalayan sea salt- see notes
  13.  Method

Boil the tagliatelle and cook according to
package directions. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the rest
of the pasta.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick
frying pan. Toss the sliced mushrooms into the pan with the thyme leaves and
sauté until the mushrooms are golden. Add in the diced shallot and minced
garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until the shallots and
garlic are soft.

Pour the cream into the pan and bring to a
gentle simmer and let thicken. Pour the pasta water into the cream gradually
and whisk. Taste to season. Toss the cooked pasta into the sauce and sprinkle
in the parsley.


4 slices of bread, large, such as rustic Tuscan or Pugliese bread

tomatoes, ripe, 300–400g

extra virgin olive oil, very good quality, 3–4 tbsp

garlic cloves, 1–2

basil leaves, 4–5, plus more to garnish





Dice the tomatoes and place in a large strainer. Salt the
tomatoes generously and thoroughly combine to coat all the tomatoes with salt

Place the strainer on a plate or in a bowl and allow to rest for
15–20 minutes, jostling occasionally to encourage the liquids to expel. While
not fundamental, this step firms up the tomato flesh and facilitates the
release of the slippery pulp and seeds

Most of the salt will rinse away. If you skip this step, salt
accordingly when you add the other ingredients to the tomato

Dump the excess liquid away and gently shake the strainer (over
the sink) to filter out the seeds. Removing all of the seeds is nearly
impossible, but most of them will come away

Taste a piece of the tomato. If still too salty, sprinkle with a
small amount of water and shake again

Transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl and add the olive oil.
Tear in the basil leaves and finely grate in ½ to 1 garlic clove. Grind in some
black pepper (optional) and combine thoroughly

Grill or toast the bread slices until golden on both sides. Scoop
the tomato onto each slice and garnish with additional basil. For an extra
kick, rub the slices with the second garlic clove before adding the tomato


Fresh Pasta

2 large eggs

200g of 00 flour, plus extra for dusting


Place 180g of the 00 flour onto a large wooden board. Pour the
remaining 20g of flour into a small bowl, ready to use if necessary

Shape the flour into a volcano with a large hole in the centre,
then crack the eggs and pour them into the middle

Using a fork, lightly beat the eggs, then mix in the flour a
little at time. It is essential that the flour is gradually beaten into the
eggs to ensure the walls of the volcano don’t break too soon. Add the reserved
20g of flour if the dough is too moist

Bring the mixture together with a spatula and your hands until
you obtain a consistent ball of dough

Work the dough with the heel of your hand for 10–15 minutes, or
until the mixture is smooth and very elastic. Wrap the dough in cling film and
refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Dust a wooden board with 1 tbsp of flour. Unwrap the dough and
flatten it with a rolling pin. Roll out the dough into thin pasta sheets, less
than 1mm thick

If you have a pasta machine, divide the dough into 4 before
rolling it out

To cut the pasta sheets into tagliatelle, roll the sheets up and
cut into large ¾cm strips. Unravel the cut tagliatelle strips and twirl into
little nests. Dust the nests liberally with flour to stop them from sticking

Cook the tagliatelle within a few hours in boiling salted water
for 3–5 minutes before serving with your favourite sauce

Alternatively, freeze for up to 1 month. To freeze the pasta,
layer the tagliatelle flat on a tray lined with parchment paper and freeze for
1 hour, then transfer to a freezer bag or another suitable container



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