Pasta alla Norma

by katerina on September 13, 2011

If your Aunt Margaret was a vegetable she might be an Eggplant. You know what I mean right? She can’t sit by the window because of the draft but finds it far too warm everywhere else. Basically, a fusspot. Similarly, eggplant will whine and slump if treated badly. When undercooked eating eggplant is rather like chowing down on styrofoam. If overcooked, the only thing you will find in your bowl is rubbery skin.

But cook it well and eggplant will melt on your tongue as softly as the ricotta it is tossed with. My suggestion? Cook it hot and fast. Make sure your oil is hot enough that it doesn’t become a greasy sponge but rather quickly tenderizes and browns. Nonnas from Siciliy to Sorrento will thank you.

This classic Italian recipe, “pasta alla norma” always features ricotta, tomatoes, eggplant and pasta. The remaining details vary. Make it now when all the ingredients are fresh and available.

Print Recipe

Pasta alla Norma

(serves 2)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 onion, diced
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 14oz can whole tomatoes
1 Italian eggplant, cut into 1/4" slices no wider than an inch
olive oil for frying
200g linguine
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup ricotta
a dozen fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

Over medium low heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil. When warmed, add chopped onion and sweat until translucent, abut 5 minutes. (You can start on the eggplant frying now). Once soft add chili flakes and cook for one minute. Add the can of tomatoes and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Add a pinch of salt and cook on medium low heat, stirring occasionally as the eggplant and pasta cooks.

While the onion is sweating you can start frying the eggplant. In a large skillet heat enough olive oil to thoroughly coat the pan over medium high heat. Fry eggplant in batches until browned on both sides, drain on paper towels.

Salt pasta water and cook pasta in boiling water until just under al dente. Drain and toss in the tomato sauce until al dente. Toss with eggplant and grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste. Roughly chop basil. Serve pasta topped with ricotta cheese and basil.


Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 30 minutes | Total Time:35 minutes
Calories(approximate per serving): 500



{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Belinda @zomppa September 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm

That’s a great description – you sure know how to butter Eggplant up!

Reply

natalie (the sweets life) September 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

I love eggplant, but have definitely cooked it improperly before! This looks great!

Reply

katerina September 14, 2011 at 11:14 am

Belinda – thanks!

Natalie – me too, for sure.

Reply

Noya - gluttonandstudent September 17, 2011 at 9:08 pm

This recipe is great! I love the idea of adding ricotta.

Reply

katerina September 18, 2011 at 6:51 pm

@Noya glad you like it!

Reply

Teri @ FatBurningFurnace December 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I found your recipe recently and made it. We love pasta but this was very unique and everyone loved it! Thank you for posting! My son wondered why I had not made it before and asked if I would make it more often! lol

Reply

katerina December 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Awesome, hearing that about an eggplant recipe means it must be a success, well done!

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