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pasta alla norma

Pasta alla Norma

James
Pasta alla Norma is a dish from the heart of the Mediterranean. It's a Sicilian eggplant and tomato pasta dish from the city of Catania.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean, Sicilian

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients
  

  • 2 eggplants
  • 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 fresh whole cherry peppers seeds separated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes, canned
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 lb pasta
  • ricotta cheese for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Chop the eggplants into workable-sized chunks and pulse in a food processor three or four times until minced, but not a pulp.
  • Add the eggplant to a large skillet with the olive oil. Cover and cook over a medium/low heat for 20 minutes to break down the eggplant. Stir a few times throughout this process.
  • Put a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  • Put the cherry peppers, garlic, onion, and vinegar in the food processor. Add a teaspoon of the cherry pepper seeds. Based on your heat tolerance, you may want to adjust the amount of seeds you add. Pulse the ingredients to mince them.
  • Make a well in the center of the cooked eggplant and add the cherry pepper/onion mixture to the center of the skillet and cook uncovered for 10 minutes with the eggplant surrounding the mixture.
  • Stir the skillet ingredients together. Add oregano, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the tomatoes and stir everything together. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the skillet to loosen up the ingredients and form a sauce. Eggplants absorb liquids and could dry the sauce a bit.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Mix the pasta thoroughly with the sauce and the additional 1/4 cup of pasta water.
  • Serve with a dollop of ricotta cheese.

Notes

We used 2 medium-sized eggplants. You could also use 2 large Sicilian eggplants (the round ones).
This dish could be used as small pasta course before an entree, or as a main course.
Keyword cherry peppers, eggplant, pasta