Luckily, this is easy to avoid with a little extra preparation. While the pasta cooks, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep sauté pan. Finally grate (1/2 cup) a hefty amount of the ricotta salata on the pasta and drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top. If you enjoy eggplant Parmesan, you’re going to love pasta alla Norma. Bring a large pot of salted water to a roaring boil, and cook the pasta until about 2 minutes underdone. Rinse the eggplant under cool running water, drain thoroughly, and pat dry. Delicious! Grab a cup of coffee and visit while Erren shares stories from life outside the kitchen. While eggplant is roasting start boiling pasta to al dente in salted (2 Tbsp kosher salt per gallon) water. Toss the eggplant and tomatoes with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to the table and serve with more ricotta salata, extra virgin olive oil and the side of sauce for anyone who would like more. Growing up in an Italian-American family, I ate plenty of eggplant and pasta dishes, but it wasn’t until my wife came back from a trip to Sicily that I learned what Alla Norma really was. Slice the eggplant about 1/2 inch thick. This would be added to the dish at the same time as the fried eggplant. Roast in a hot oven for 30 – 35 minutes. I’ll be making this again. Finally, add a large amount of grated Ricotta Salata and bring the pasta alla norma to the table. This is a bright and summery pasta dish, full of acidic sweet tomatoes and creamy eggplant. Tying together fresh Italian tomatoes, creamy and savory eggplant, and salty ricotta you end up with a dish that is perfect for any warm summer evening, or even to help you imagine one during the cold winter. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes, and toss in a large bowl with the 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Sprinkle … Spray with cooking spray and roast for 30-35 minutes (you’ll know they’re done when the skin shrivels). Just make sure you’ve found high quality ingredients and it is hard to go wrong. Substitute Pecorino Romano if unable to find ricotta salata. Serve this Italian masterpiece with warm Homemade Garlic Bread for the perfect weeknight meal. Quite good. The thing I love about pasta, specifically authentic Italian pasta is that they hardly ever cost a lot to make but always have incredible flavour. Garnish with additional Parmesan and the chopped basil and serve. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and drain. Serve with more grated cheese. Dump into a colander, and let drain for 1 hour. Chop or tear the basil and add it to the sauce. If the depression remains, the eggplant is old. © 2020 Discovery or its subsidiaries and affiliates. Rich and delicious. Scatter in the garlic, and cook, shaking the pan, until golden, about 3 minutes. Gently, but firmly, press your finger into the skin of the eggplant. Wow, that’s great, it can be difficult getting children to eat eggplant, so glad it was a success! Pasta Alla Norma, or Rigatoni Alla Norma, is an Italian pasta dish that hails from Catania, Sicily, a city that sits at the foot of Mt. Start by dicing the eggplant into fairly large half-moon shaped pieces about 3/4″ thick. It was amazing. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water to boil and salt it. Stir it all together and bring sauce to a light simmer for 10-15 minutes of cooking. Roast the eggplant in middle of oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden and fully cooked through. Undercooking the pasta and finishing it in the sauce allows the pasta to absorb some of the sauce giving it even more flavor. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with half the olive oil. Don't have wine? Add the pasta to the pan with the sauce and half the cooking water. Eggplants turn more bitter they mature. Add the garlic and cook until just brown. Allow simmering for two-three minutes to finish cooking the pasta. The best pasta sauce in the world can’t make up for bland pasta. Before draining the pasta, remove a cup of the cooking water and set aside. Raise the heat and allow the alcohol to cook off the wine. Excellent recipe. This let’s them drain and significantly reduces the presence of any bitter flavors. Once its done, add freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Cooking the pasta in well-salted water seasons the pasta. The flesh should give a to the pressure and create a slight indent that springs back when pressure is released. Plus, you can save the wine for drinking. 6 Season with more salt and pepper, divide among bowls, dollop with the ricotta, and garnish with more basil and Parm. Dried red chili can also be added with the garlic if you like a little bite to the dish and remains a traditional option. Subscribe to my Newsletter for all my latest recipes! Makes 4 large or 6 regular size servings. I had some eggplants to use up and I came across this beautiful recipe. Add the rigatoni and cook 3 minutes less than the package directions. Receive new recipes & dinner ideas straight to your inbox! It is a digital cookbook and cooking guide alike, available on all platforms, that helps home cooks of every level discover, save and organize the world’s best recipes, while also helping them become better, more competent cooks. The younger it is, the sweeter and more tender the flesh. Add tomatoes followed by the wine. Eggplant really absorbs oil like a sponge, so this lightens up the dish. As with most Southern Italian cuisine, simple is best. Place in a bowl and coat well with a 1/2 cup of olive oil and a tsp of kosher salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Before straining the pasta, with a ladle or strainer, use a mug to remove a cup of pasta water. 19 Vegetarian(ish) Weeknight Pasta Dishes. Bake until the eggplant is very tender and browned, about 25 minutes. Omg my 7yo and 6yo devoured it and no word of complaint because it had eggplant. Though not absolutely necessary cooking the pasta in the sauce really helps it absorb the sauce. Your email address will not be published. If it looks dry, add the remaining pasta water. When done, add freshly grated cheese to the pasta and mix well to incorporate. Are there other Norma recipes? Taste and adjust the seasoning, then top with the parsley or basil and grated cheese and serve. Check to see if the pasta is cooked. Choose the smallest eggplants you can. Wow, this is such a great idea! The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Avoid eggplants that feel lightweight as they may be past their prime. At the end of the cooking the eggplant, the pan will ideally have a couple of tablespoons of oil left. Some people roast the eggplant, giving it an earthier flavor, but the traditional recipes stick to frying them in olive oil. When it is al dente, drain the pasta and return it to the pot over low heat. Rinse off the eggplant and then pat dry so it’s ready for cooking (you want to avoid placing wet eggplant into oil to prevent oil splatters). The pasta should be about 2 minutes undercooked. Plate the pasta, and spoon the reserved sauce over each serving; then divide the remaining baked eggplant on top of each pasta plate. Toss the rigatoni with the eggplant, tomatoes, about 1/4 cup pasta water and the marinara sauce in a large bowl. Once your eggplant has drained and been patted dry, add olive oil to a large pan over high heat. Dice eggplant into 3/4" thick cubes. Add garlic, cook for 20 seconds until golden, then add onion and cook... Increase heat to medium high and add wine, if using. If you absolutely must have red wine, take a pass on the Chianti and instead grab a Sicilian red from the slopes of Mount Etna. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to The pasta water should taste of the ocean. While the wine cooks down, crush tomatoes with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. Would love your thoughts, please comment. After sauce is cooked, remove about half of it from the pan and set aside. Cook until all sides of the eggplant are golden, then remove to a plate and cook the next batch (do not drain on paper towels).