pasta alla norma

Norma15

Norma2

Pasta is my comfort food.  Which is a bit odd considering I am not Italian {although I sometimes pretend to be}.  If I am ever feeling under the weather, or in the throes of a major hangover, nothing is more comforting to me than an abnormally large bowl of pasta {even with just a simple butter and parmesan sauce}.  I freak even myself out with my ability to literally inhale an entire bowl of pasta faster than a growing teenage boy.

I first tried making a pasta alla norma, a delicious pasta that originated in Sicily, after seeing a recipe for it in Jamie’s Italy.  However, I didn’t love frying the eggplant separately as his recipe called for – eggplant tends to absorb anything and everything you throw at it, and I felt that the amount of oil soaked up by these greedy little sponges was a bit excessive {even for me}.  I love that this recipe from Saveur instead called for roasting eggplant {I have never met a roasted vegetable I didn’t like – see here}, which I found required less oil, resulted in a more flavorful pasta, and made my life easier – it allowed me to throw the julienned eggplant in the oven while I got cracking on the sauce.  All in, this recipe came together in about 40 minutes, and was absolutely delicious.

Recipe continued after the jump…

Norma5

Norma6

Recipe

From Saveur

  • 2 medium eggplants, cut into 3/4″ cubes {I cut them into a large julienne}
  • 7 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Dried oregano {if desired}
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, undrained and crushed by hand
  • 16 fresh basil leaves, torn by hand {or chiffonade}
  • 1 lb. bucatini or spaghetti
  • 4 oz. ricotta salata, grated {if you can’t find ricotta salata, regular ricotta, crumbled up is lovely too}

Heat oven to 500º. Put eggplant into a bowl and drizzle with 4 tbsp. oil. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with dried oregano if desired.  Transfer eggplant to 2 baking sheets and bake, turning occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a rack; set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a 5-qt. pot over medium heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add chile flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic softens, about 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes and half the basil, season with salt, and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just al dente, about 9 minutes.  Drain pasta and transfer to tomato sauce.  Stir in reserved eggplant and toss to combine. Stir in remaining basil and season with salt.  To serve, transfer pasta to a platter and garnish with ricotta salata.

Norma7

Norma8

Norma9

Norma11

Norma14

Norma13

Norma21

This entry was posted in Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to pasta alla norma

  1. We grow eggplant now and am looking for different ways to prepare it. This would work nicely.

  2. Anne says:

    This is such a beautiful plate of pasta! I can see why it’s comforting. Love the photos –makes me hungry! 😀

  3. Your ingredient list looks amazingly wonderful and I would love to see you woof down a plate of pasta faster than my teenage boys. I am sure anything is possible…but you must be faster than fast.

  4. I’m like you and think that I’m Italian although it’s obvious I’m not 🙂 Love how you incorporated egg plant and used the thicker bucatini in this pasta dish — beautiful and it gives it so much more texture and bite. Have a great New Year!

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Hi Danny – thank you for stopping by! Love your new website! 🙂 Bucatini is one of my favorite pasta shapes also – I always buy boxes of it whenever I find it at a grocery store because it isn’t the easiest shape to find, but feels so much different to me than spaghetti. Love that you pretend to be Italian also! 🙂

      • Thanks for visiting as well — glad you like the “evolution” of things 🙂 Great idea that you stock up on it — nice tip! Good catching up with a “fellow Italian” LOL.

  5. Karen says:

    This sounds like a simple but delicious dish.

  6. My French Heaven says:

    Fantastic shots!

  7. Candy says:

    Looks fantastic, makes my mouth water 🙂

  8. My French Heaven says:

    I really love your photography!! What camera and lens do you use?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s