Yet another classic Italian pasta, which was the perfect solution when I was figuring out how to use up all of the eggplant I had picked from my dwindling late summer garden. Pasta alla Norma is simple to put together and in addition, it uses minimal ingredients – eggplant, crushed tomatoes, garlic, basil and cheese. In this case, I had some fresh mozzarella which I threw in at the last minute, however, my favorite way to top off this dish is with smoked Scamorza cheese – a great way to finish off this dish!
In the fall, I crave warm tomato-y pasta often, therefore I love to have several options to fall back on. Pasta Alla Norma can be made as described in the recipe below or to simplify even more, you can use a pre-made sauce. The only one I ever use is Rao’s Arrabbiata. It is so good and spicy and will save you at least 20 minutes. Going in this direction, you will only have to prepare the eggplant then pour the Rao’s sauce in the pan!! I just love to simplify, spend less time without compromising quality.
This Pasta Alla Norma recipe would pair perfectly with Radicchio and Pecorino Salad. A perfect Italian combination for a quick, early fall dinner.
A classic Italian pasta dish for a quick meal.
- 5 japanese eggplants or 2 medium globe eggplants
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup peanut or other high-heat oil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cans or boxes of crushed tomatoes
- 1 pound pasta
- 1 cup of fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin ribbons
- Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch pieces, no need to remove skin, place in a colander and toss with 1 tablespoon salt. Let sit for 20 minutes then rinse and pat dry.
- Heat a large skillet with oil (1/4-inch). When hot, add eggplant in batches so it is a single layer. Brown for 3-4 minutes, flip over with tongs and brown second side another 3 minutes. When eggplant is fairly soft, remove to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain then finish cooking the rest of the eggplant.
- Wipe out skillet, reheat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When hot, add red pepper flakes and garlic, cook for 3 minutes.
- Add tomato and 1 teaspoon salt, stir. Continue to cook for 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
- Heat a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to the directions.
- Add eggplant to the pasta, stir.
- Add cheese if using mozzarella or feta, just before adding the pasta.
- Add pasta, stir then toss with the basil.
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: pasta, eggplant, fresh mozzarella, pasta alla norma, italian