Aubergine and Anchovy Pasta

This dish might not look like much, but it really does pack a punch. The aubergine makes the sauce creamy and thick, while the anchovies are really the dominant flavour. I’ve been quite vague about the amount of anchovies you should use in the recipe, as it really depends on your taste. I used four, and it was strong. I was not sure about the cheese/anchovy combination, but it works really well. Just don’t eat this before a date – you’ve been warned.

Aubergine and Anchovy Pasta

Ingredients (serves 2-3, depending on appetite)

300 gr linguine
1 aubergine
2-4 anchovy fillets, drained
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp tomato paste, dissolved in 1/2 cup water
freshly ground pepper
good pinch of dried oregano
grated pecorino or parmesan
fresh parsley, to serve

First, pierce the aubergine all over with a knife, place it in tray and under a hot grill and cook until it’s collapsing, with a burnt skin.

In the meantime, chop the anchovy fillets finely and grate the garlic into a paste (I do this using a microplane grater). Put some olive oil in a pan, cook the anchovies over medium heat until dissolved, and add the garlic. Cook for a further couple of minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

Cut the aubergine in half and scoop out the soft flesh. Chop finely and add to the pan. Fry it with the anchovy/garlic paste for a couple of minutes, before adding the diluted tomato paste and letting the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes. Season with pepper and oregano (the anchovies with make this salty enough so I doubt you’ll need more salt).

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water and, before draining, reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce and use the reserved water to bind it together. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and stir until melted. Serve with some chopped fresh parsley on the top.


  1. Su-Lin · January 30, 2011

    That looks outstanding! Love the idea of using the roasted aubergine as a sauce base!


  2. Ino · January 31, 2011

    Thanks! I had never used the aubergine like this in a pasta dish but it worked so well – I think I'll come up with more aubergine-based sauces.


  3. Lizzie · January 31, 2011

    I do love a good anchovy pasta; never thought about using aubergines though – it looks great.


  4. Ino · January 31, 2011

    Thanks Lizzie – got the anchovy/aubergine idea from a tapenade I got a friend for Christmas that had both ingredients in it.


  5. smokinchestnut · February 2, 2011

    Oh wow, yum! I definitely want to make this. Quick question – I have anchovy paste on hand from another recipe. Think it would work here?


  6. Ino · February 2, 2011

    I don't see why paste wouldn't work – not sure how much you should use but you can just taste as you go!


  7. Mei Teng · February 4, 2011

    I love pastas.


  8. Hanna @ Swedish Meatball · March 1, 2011

    I am trying to get over my fear of anchovies and this sounds like just the right way to start… Wouldn't have thought of aubergine and pasta together but sounds great!


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