Pasta alla Norma is a signature Italian eggplant recipe! A tangy red sauce and salty cheese complete this Sicilian masterpiece.
- 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), chopped into 3/4” inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
- 28 ounce can high quality crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar, optional
- 12 ounces large tubular pasta (rigatoni or we used calamarata)
- 1/4 cup grated ricotta salata*, to serve
- Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, to serve
- In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Sauté for 7 to 10 minutes until browned and tender, stirring often so the eggplant doesn’t stick (the pan will be pretty dry, but this is as expected). Remove the eggplant to a bowl.
- Reduce the heat to low and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, along with the garlic, parsley and basil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer 15 minutes, until the flavors meld. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon the sugar. Add in the eggplant just before serving.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta to al dente and drain. Add the pasta back to the pot with a drizzle of olive oil. Pour the sauce with eggplant over the pasta and gently toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve topped with grated ricotta salata cheese, grated Pecorino Romano, and chopped fresh parsley and basil.
*Ricotta salata is a Sicilian aged ricotta cheese with a hard texture similar to Parmesan and a salty flavor like feta cheese. If you can’t find it, the Greek cheese Mizithra is a great substitute. Don’t use fresh ricotta, which is soft and creamy instead of salty and aged. If you can’t find either, feta cheese has a similar flavor: or you can omit and simply use Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian Inspired
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Eggplant Recipes