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White plate with rigatoni pasta in a red tomato sauce with eggplant cubes, olives and fresh basil. A fork resting in.

Best Pasta Alla Norma (classic eggplant pasta)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Emilie Pullar
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 3 - 4 people
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

A simple, comforting Italian classic pasta sauce. My Pasta alla norma has a roasted red pepper twist for added flavour and deliciousness. A fantastic vegetarian meal for any night of the week.


Ingredients

350 grams pasta

1 x eggplant, cubed

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped/minced

2 x 400 gram cans tomatoes

1 x jar roasted red peppers (I used 3 whole peppers out of a jar)

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 tablespoon honey (optional)

100 grams olives (drained weight)

Salt to taste

Parmesan to serve

Handful fresh basil leaves to serve


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425f  (220c) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. See notes below about salting the eggplant. It's up to you and is great either way.
  3. Drizzle the eggplant with 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil and toss. Sprinkle with black pepper and salt (but don't use salt here if you have salted the eggplant before).
  4. Roast in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes until golden, tossing half way through.
  5. In the mean time make the tomato sauce and cook your pasta.
  6. Blitz the tomatoes and red peppers together in a food processor or with a stick blender.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over a medium heat and add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  8. Add the tomato mixture and bring to a gentle simmer.
  9. Add the black pepper, a good pinch of salt, the honey, Italian herbs and simmer for 15 minutes. Cook your pasta during this time.
  10. Add the cooked pasta in with a splash of pasta water and toss well and then let it gently bubble for a min or two.
  11. Add the roasted eggplant cubes and toss through very gently.
  12. Serve with a mountain of freshly grated parmesan and lots of fresh basil leaves.

Notes

Yield - I found this one a tricky one to say a yield for. If you want it really saucy then only use 200 grams pasta and it will be great for two people. Use 350 grams of pasta and it could be 3 even 4 people. You can always use extra pasta water.

Salting the eggplant - In previous years this was done to draw bitterness out which isn't necessary with modern day eggplants. I still choose to do it as it draws moisture out which helps them crisp up. Simply sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt over the cubes, leave for 30 mins then pat dry. It's totally an optional step!

Basil - Toss through right before serving as it can discolour really quickly in sauces. 

Add some meat - Some cooked bacon or pancetta would be delicious to add in.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian