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Pasta Caponata

Pasta Caponata
Pasta Caponata

When we’re in the mood for a hearty, satisfying feed, we tend to turn to a big bowl of pasta. This pasta caponata is easy to make, bursting with flavours and loaded up with lovely veggies. A big win on a multitude of levels. If you like pasta, you should definitely give this a try.


Before you start

Preheat oven to 180°C | Line a baking tray | Large frying pan with lid on a medium heat | Large saucepan | Small frying pan


  • 2 aubergines (about 500g)
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 celery stick
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 30g small capers
  • 40g raisins
  • 60g pitted Kalamata olives
  • 500g penne pasta
  • 10g dark chocolate
  • 20g fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 40g pine nuts
  • salt and black pepper


  1. 1.

    Trim the aubergines and chop the flesh into 2cm cubes | Lay on the lined baking tray along with the cherry tomatoes and drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the olive oil | Sprinkle with a good layer of salt, pepper and the chilli flakes, put the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil into the large frying pan | Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic and add to the pan | Trim the leaves and root from the celery, then finely chop and add to the pan | Cook the onions, garlic and celery for 10–15 minutes, stirring regularly, until they are soft and translucent

  3. 3.

    Add the tomato purée to the pan and stir | Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, thyme, capers, raisins and olives, plus a little salt and pepper to taste, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and let everything cook for 5 minutes | Remove the roasted aubergines and tomatoes from the oven and add them to the pan, giving everything a stir | Put the lid on and simmer for 12–15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to stop it burning

  4. 4.

    Boil a kettle and fill the large saucepan with the boiling water and a pinch of salt | Add the pasta and cook until al dente, following the instructions on the packet | Strain away the water and tip the cooked pasta back into the pasta pan

  5. 5.

    Meanwhile, chop or grate the dark chocolate and sprinkle it into the caponata sauce | Chop the stalks from the parsley and save for another recipe, then chop the leaves and add three-quarters to the pan along with the balsamic vinegar | Simmer for a further 3–5 minutes with the lid off | Taste and season if necessary | Pour the sauce over the pasta and fold it in, making sure everything is well covered

  6. 6.

    Put the small frying pan on a medium-high heat and toast the pine nuts in the dry pan until golden | Sprinkle over the pasta along with the reserved parsley leaves before serving

  7. 7.

    Serves 4-6