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Penne with Walnut & Aubergine Pesto

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 1
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian


The roasted aubergine flesh in this pasta dish makes a velvety, delicious, unctuous sauce.


  • 100g (3.5 oz) Penne Pasta 
  • Bertolli with Butter
  • 1 Small Aubergine (Eggplant)
  • Generous Handful Walnut Halves
  • Large Handful Basil 
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper
  • Small Handful Cherry Tomatoes 
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan 


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (390 Fahrenheit).
  2. Cook the pasta for 20 minutes in a pan of salted water.
  3. Split the aubergine down the middle, and score the flesh without breaking the skin so that you’ll be able to scrape out the roasted flesh later.
  4. Grease a baking tray with a little Bertolli, and lay the aubergine halves face side down before roasting them for 20 minutes until the flesh is soft. 
  5. Meanwhile, using a mortar and pestle (I find Cole & Mason make the most effective models) pound the walnuts down into chunky paste.
  6. Add a little Bertolli to moisten the mixture into a paste.
  7. Add the basil, and pound it down into a pesto. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  8. Once the aubergines are just cool enough to touch, scrape the roasted flesh into the mortar. Mix it into the pesto using the pestle, combining it into the pesto, but still leaving generous chunks of the flesh intact.
  9. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
  10. Drain the pasta, retaining a little bit of the cooking liquid, and return it to the pan.
  11. Spoon in the walnut and aubergine pesto, the tomatoes, and add a spoonful of Bertolli to help bind the sauce.
  12. Stir until everything is combined, and grate over a generous amount of parmesan.
  13. Combine everything again, and transfer the pasta to a warm pasta bowl. If you have any left, finish the bowl with a sprinkling of nuts and a few smaller basil leaves.