Eggplant Pasta: Italian-Inspired Pasta alla Norma Recipe

2023-11-17
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Give Eggplant a Chance! I did, and I declare that roasted eggplant combined with pasta, tomatoes, and topped with cheese is simply fantastic. 😊 Besides, this dish hails from the beautiful, sunny Sicily, and let’s be honest – Italians truly excel in the kitchen, knowing how to enjoy delicious meals. The name of this dish refers to Vincenzo Bellini’s opera ‘Norma,’ considered one of the greatest works in the Italian classical repertoire. Plus, this super tasty pasta pays homage to the beautiful island of Sicily, which is rich in eggplants and tomatoes.

I must admit, I rarely used to buy eggplants. Back when I was in college, I simply didn’t know what to do with them, and since it wasn’t exactly a budget-friendly vegetable, especially on a student’s budget, I preferred not to risk buying it, thinking, ‘I’ll get it, and it won’t turn out well anyway.’ However, this week my sister, who has been a vegetarian for 16 years, came over for dinner with our parents. So, I decided I needed to make something that would appeal to both her and the rest of the family. And that’s how I ended up preparing this delicious eggplant pasta.

First, watch this video with a recipe for eggplant pasta and see how easy it is to make:

eggplant pasta recipe

INGREDIENTS:

eggplant-pasta-ingredients
eggplant-pasta-ingredients

EGGPLANT – Eggplant is a vegetable that is somewhat similar to a large tomato but has a pear-shaped or egg-shaped appearance, and its skin can be smooth or wrinkled, depending on the variety. In taste, eggplant is mild but can absorb the flavors of other ingredients in the dish it is used in. It is popular in Mediterranean cuisine as well as in Asian cuisine.

When choosing eggplant at the store, pay attention to ensure it has the right color and appearance, selecting eggplants with a light, shiny skin. Avoid those with a matte surface, as it may indicate that the vegetable is old. Size is also important; choose medium-sized eggplants, as they are usually juicier and more flavorful than those that are too large.

After purchasing eggplant, it’s advisable to store it in a cool place, but not in the refrigerator, as low temperatures can affect its taste and texture. You can keep it at room temperature for several days.

PASTA When it comes to pasta, choose any variety that you like and suits your taste best. Long kinds of pasta like tagliatelle or spaghetti work great for this dish. This time, I opted for tagliatelle.

CANNED TOMATOES – Choose good-quality canned tomatoes from a reputable brand, preferably in the form of finely chopped tomatoes. I recommend tomatoes from the Italian brand Mutti.

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Red onion, garlic cloves, olive oil or cooking oil, salt and pepper to taste, Italian Herbs or oregano, sugar, hot paprika powder, and cheese (Parmesan, Grana Padano, or Ricotta).

eggplant-pasta-recipe
eggplant-pasta-recipe

EGGPLANT PASTA. STEP-BY-STEP PREPARATION.

STEP 1.

You can either fry or bake the eggplant. This recipe uses baked eggplant – baked eggplant is healthier than fried and holds its shape better. Cut the eggplants into medium-sized cubes and transfer all the pieces to a bowl. Drizzle the eggplant pieces with two tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil, season with salt and pepper. I used about half a teaspoon of salt and a third of a teaspoon of ground pepper. Mix everything so that the oil (or oil), salt, and pepper cover the eggplant pieces.

eggplant-pasta-preparation-step-1
eggplant-pasta-preparation-step-1

STEP 2.

Transfer the chopped eggplant onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure the pieces don’t overlap. Place it in a preheated oven at 220 degrees Celsius (about 425 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for the first 20 minutes. Then, open the oven and carefully mix everything using, for example, a long spatula. Bake for an additional 10, up to 15 minutes. After this time, the eggplant should be well-baked.

eggplant-pasta-preparation-step-2
eggplant-pasta-preparation-step-2

STEP 3.

While the eggplant is in the oven, prepare the sauce. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add finely chopped red onion. Sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add minced or grated garlic to the onions and sauté for half a minute. Once the vegetables are sautéed, add canned tomatoes, preferably finely chopped, such as Mutti brand.

eggplant-pasta-preparation-step-3.
eggplant-pasta-preparation-step-3.

STEP 4.

To the tomatoes, add Italian Herbs or oregano, a teaspoon of sugar, salt, and pepper to taste, as well as hot paprika powder. I added half a teaspoon of this paprika, but if you like spicier flavors, you can add more. Mix everything. Once the tomatoes come to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer the sauce over low heat for about 10 minutes until it thickens. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile, cook the pasta, preferably al dente.

eggplant-pasta-preparation-step-4
eggplant-pasta-preparation-step-4

STEP 5.

When the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency, add the previously cooked pasta and the roasted eggplant. Sprinkle with grated cheese. You can use Parmesan, a hard cheese similar to Parmesan such as Grana Padano, or crumbled Ricotta cheese. Mix everything well so that the sauce coats the pasta, and keep it on the heat for a while to ensure that all the ingredients are warm. Finally, you can sprinkle everything with chopped parsley.

eggplant-pasta-preparation-step-5
eggplant-pasta-preparation-step-5

DO YOU CRAVE ANOTHER DELICIOUS MEATLESS PASTA DISH? BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THIS ONE:

Creamy Mushroom Orzo Recipe (One Pot). So easy, so good! – Pasta Mama Cooks

Creamy Mushroom Orzo recipe video
Creamy Mushroom Orzo recipe video

EGGPLANT PASTA. PRINTABLE RECIPE:

eggplant pasta

Eggplant Pasta: Italian-Inspired Pasta alla Norma Recipe

Give Eggplant a Chance! I did, and I declare that roasted eggplant combined with pasta, tomatoes, and topped with cheese is simply fantastic.  Besides, this dish hails from the beautiful, sunny Sicily, and let’s be honest – Italians truly excel in the kitchen, knowing how to enjoy delicious meals.
Servings 4
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 10.5 oz / 300 g of pasta, such as tagliatelle, spaghetti, or penne (weight before cooking)
  • 2 cans of tomatoes, preferably finely chopped (I recommend Mutti brand) (2 x 14 oz/400 g)
  • 2 medium-sized/large eggplants
  • One red onion, medium or large
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp Italian Herbs or oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 0.5 tsp hot paprika powder you can add more
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil, plus a bit for frying
  • 3 oz/80 g Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, or crumbled ricotta

Instructions
 

  • You can either fry or bake the eggplant. This recipe uses baked eggplant – baked eggplant is healthier than fried and holds its shape better. Cut the eggplants into medium-sized cubes and transfer all the pieces to a bowl. Drizzle the eggplant pieces with two tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil, season with salt and pepper. I used about half a teaspoon of salt and a third of a teaspoon of ground pepper. Mix everything so that the oil (or oil), salt, and pepper cover the eggplant pieces.
  • Transfer the chopped eggplant onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure the pieces don’t overlap. Place it in a preheated oven at 220 degrees Celsius (about 425 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for the first 20 minutes. Then, open the oven and carefully mix everything using, for example, a long spatula. Bake for an additional 10, up to 15 minutes. After this time, the eggplant should be well-baked.
  • While the eggplant is in the oven, prepare the sauce. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add finely chopped red onion. Sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add minced or grated garlic to the onions and sauté for half a minute. Once the vegetables are sautéed, add canned tomatoes, preferably finely chopped, such as Mutti brand.
  • To the tomatoes, add Italian Herbs or oregano, a teaspoon of sugar, salt, and pepper to taste, as well as hot paprika powder. I added half a teaspoon of this paprika, but if you like spicier flavors, you can add more. Mix everything. Once the tomatoes come to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer the sauce over low heat for about 10 minutes until it thickens. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile, cook the pasta, preferably al dente.
  • When the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency, add the previously cooked pasta and the roasted eggplant. Sprinkle with grated cheese. You can use Parmesan, a hard cheese similar to Parmesan such as Grana Padano, or crumbled Ricotta cheese. Mix everything well so that the sauce coats the pasta, and keep it on the heat for a while to ensure that all the ingredients are warm. Finally, you can sprinkle everything with chopped parsley.
pasta-alla-norma-recipe.
pasta-alla-norma-recipe.

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