Monday, September 6, 2010

Societi Bistro's Aubergine Fettuccine

A few months ago, seated and perusing the menu at Society Bistro — one of the most fabulous restaurants to ever happen to Cape Town's CBD — my eyes settled on 'Aubergine fettuccine: baked ricotta, chilli, fennel seed, cherry tomatoes.'

I read the line again and thought: 'I want to go to there.'

I have not been able to stop thinking about that dish, so eventually I asked for the recipe. I've never cooked with fennel seeds in a Mediterranean context before, but their subtle flavour goes beautifully with aubergine. I am so delighted with this recipe — and I know you will be too.

At Society Bistro they make their own fettuccine and their own ricotta — I used store-bought, and the result was even better than I remembered, but if you have homemade... Well, I'm sure I don't have to tell you.

The recipe is for one serving, because of course that's how they do it in restaurants, so just double or quadripple the quantities according to your needs. (I should just note here that SB did not provide ingredient quantities in the 'Assembly' section, so I just went with my gut.)

Aubergine fettuccine
Serves 1

For the aubergine caviar:
1 aubergine
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
10g fennel seeds
10g dry chilli flakes

1. Cut aubergine  in half lengthways, and score the flesh deeply to form diamond shapes.
2. Drizzle the olive oil and season with salt, pepper, chilli and fennel.
3. Wrap in foil and bake for 1 hour at 150C.
4. Allow to cool, then scoop out the soft cooked flesh.

1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
100g cherry tomatoes
20g rocket
125g baked ricotta (I mixed mine with some chilli, fennel seeds, salt and pepper, and baked it along with the aubergine)
Fresh chilli, chopped, to taste

1. Warm a large frying-pan and add the olive oil and garlic, and then the caviar.
3. Cook for two minutes on a medium heat, then add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a further two minutes.
4. Season with salt and pepper and add the blanched pasta to the pan.
5. Add rocket and toss in the pan.
6. Tip onto a serving plate, top with the ricotta and fresh chilli. Grate a little Parmesan on top if you like.


  1. great recipe! i will vote for you of course ;)
    have a sweet day,

  2. ps. i forgot to tell you that i've just came back form africa - zanzibar! it was a lovely holiday with a very yummy food! i hope to come back soon, maybe to suth africa this time :)

  3. love aubergine, your creation sounds delicious !

  4. looks so good as always Robyn. I am a total pasta freak so I think I will have to try this with my home made pasta. Tummy rumbling. Congrats on making it to the top 10! will def continue to vote for you!

  5. Um wow. I want to eat this right now. And I'm not an eggplant (aubergine) lover. I do love how it goes so well with pasta and I also tend to like it better when it is not recognizable. Great recipe!

  6. I'm with you Robyn - I would have read Aubergine fettuccine: baked ricotta, chilli, fennel seed, cherry tomatoes a couple of times, before understanding the taunting tastes these words conjure up.., I'd absolutely have to go there. And I will now with this recipe, its intriguing.... but I must have.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Cheers Anna

  7. Hi Robyn,

    great pics,lovely recipes,beautiful presentations!!!am amazed...

    Good luck with the award!!!


  8. Oooh this looks and sounds delicious! Nice of them to give you the recipe and nice of you to cook it for us. The flavors sound amazing and the pictures are beautiful!

  9. You've got my vote! I'm totally smitten with this recipe, which combines favorite flavors all in one easy to make package. Fennel seeds are one of my "secret" weapons for adding a new flavor note to aubergines - such a perfect pairing.

  10. Fantastic-the ideas are kicking from that. Congrats on the top ten and I'll keep on voting!

  11. That sounds like a winning combo! And what's not to love about baked ricotta?

  12. great post and pics and recipe! tx. Societi is one of my favourite restaurants too. Almost a local, loved their pub for some World Cup football finals. Try their lamb risotto when you next there. Our son cooks their Penne Boerewors Pomodoro (not sure of its name), that is his favourite.

  13. Robyn, you've come up with another winner here. This looks and sounds delicious. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  14. This looks lovely, I like the ricotta on top!

  15. I love this baked ricotta with fennel sounds amazing! Terrific pasta recipe!

    I voted for you!

  16. Hi Robyn, Lovely combination! I voted (this is my third time) :-)

  17. I love this tasty dish for 1!!

    And that baked ricotta with all of the rest of the flavours works so well together,...yum!

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMM,...Lovely food!