Pasta alla Norma

This was one of my favorite things we ate in Sicily. It’s a hearty pasta dish made from fried eggplant and juicy tomatoes, stewed together basil and garlic, and topped with salty ricotta salata. It’s a simple but satisfying meal that vegetarians and carnivores alike will love.

Eat it for dinner tonight with your favorite bottle of Nero dAvola or Nerello Macalese wine.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants, cut into 1.5 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste or passata
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 16 ounces pasta (penne, spaghetti, etc.)
  • 6 ounces ricotta salata, grated
  • 12 basil leaves, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, sprinkle black pepper and 1 tablespoon of salt over eggplant. Mix together and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Place salted eggplant on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Toss until each piece of eggplant is evenly coated. Place in oven for 20 minutes or until caramelized and tender.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat remaining tablespoon olive oil and sauté onion over medium heat until onions are tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add canned tomatoes, passata/tomato paste, garlic, and oregano. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then fold in eggplant from the oven. Set aside.
  6. Boil the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and toss with sauce. Sprinkle with lots of ricotta salata and basil and serve.

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