Pasta à la Norma

Pasta à la Norma is one of my favorite pasta dishes, not only because my mother's name is Norma, but because I love eggplant. Of course, the fact that it reminds me of my Mum doesn't hurt. ;)

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Pasta à la Norma

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 50 m
  • Total Time: 1 h 5 m
  • Servings:
    6

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant sliced (1-inch slices)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounce canned tomatoes or 3 cups chopped, fresh tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound dried pasta
  • ½ cup crumbled ricotta salata cheese or grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or basil

Instructions

  1. Prepare the eggplant by generously salting both sides of the eggplant slices and laying them flat between sheets of paper towel. Let the eggplant sit like this for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add the olive oil, garlic and hot red pepper flakes to a deep sauté pan or Dutch oven, and then heat the pan over medium heat. Cook gently until the garlic is fragrant. When the garlic is just starting to brown around the edges, add the tomatoes and salt, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Brush any remaining salt off the eggplant slices and brush both sides of the eggplant with oil. Cook the eggplant until tender, either by grilling or by baking in a 350ºF oven for about 20 minutes. Once tender, cut the eggplant into large chunks and add to the tomato sauce.
  4. Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Serve with crumbled ricotta salata (a dense, dry ricotta cheese) or grated Parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh parsley or basil.
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