- 400g spaghetti
- freshly grated parmesan or pecorino, to serve
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 100ml dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 680g tomato passata
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- handful fresh basil leaves
- 2 whole aubergines
- olive oil, for drizzling the aubergines and for shallow-frying
- 300g minced beef
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and squashed to a paste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 50g parmesan, finely grated
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork
- 100g fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and brush it with olive oil. Cut the aubergines in half lengthwise and place them cut side up onto the foil. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Scoop the pulp out of the skins, transfer to a large bowl and mash the pulp. Cool. Discard the skins.
- While the aubergines are roasting, make the sauce: heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, and fry the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and tomato passata. Season with salt and pepper, add the sugar, stir well and cook gently for 30–40 minutes. Stir in the basil and remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, continue with the meatballs by mixing together the beef mince, the aubergine pulp, garlic, nutmeg, parmesan, egg and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and shape into balls. Shallow-fry in olive oil to brown on all sides. Add the balls to the tomato sauce and keep warm.
- Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain. Mix the past and the sauce carefully and serve immediately sprinkled with parmesan or pecorino.
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