Sicilian Spaghetti Cake


serves 4
2 aubergines (eggplant), about 650 g (1 lb 7 oz)
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup olive oil
350 g (12 oz) finely minced (ground) lean beef
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
400 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or marjoram or 1/2 tsp dried oregano or marjoram
45 g (1 1/2 oz) stoned black olives, sliced
1 green, red or yellow (bell) pepper, cored, deseeded and chopped
175 g (6 oz) spaghetti
125 g (4 1/2 oz) 1 cup Parmesan, grated


1. Brush a 20 cm (8 inch) loose-based round cake tin (pan) with olive oil, place a disc of baking parchment in the base and brush with oil. Trim the aubergines (eggplants) and cut into slanting slices, 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick. Heat some of the oil in a frying pan (skillet). Fry a few slices of aubergine (eggplant) at a time until lightly browned, turning once, and adding more oil as necessary. Drain on kitchen paper.

2. Put the minced (ground) beef, onion and garlic into a saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, until browned all over. Add the tomato puree (paste), tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, herbs and seasoning. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the olives and (bell) pepper and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cook the spaghetti for 8-10 minutes or until just tender. Drain the spaghetti thoroughly. Turn the spaghetti into a bowl and mix in the meat mixture and Parmesan, tossing together with 2 forks.

4. Lay overlapping slices of aubergine (eggplant) over the base of the cake tin (pan) and up the sides. Add the meat mixture, pressing it down, and cover with the remaining aubergine (eggplant) slices.

5. Stand the cake tin (pan) in a baking tin (pan) and cook in a preheated oven, 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6, for 40 minutes. Leave to stand for 5 minutes then loosen around the edges and invert on to a warmed serving dish, releasing the tin (pan) clip. Remove the baking parchment. Serve immediately.

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