The following recipe and photography were provided by local blogger Carolyn Hodges of The Dinner Shift.
Pasta alla Norma hails from the Sicilian region of Italy and features eggplant in a tomato sauce. Traditionally, the eggplant is sliced and fried before being tossed with pasta.
In this version, I’m roasting the eggplant. I love this method because it keeps the eggplant from becoming too oily and heavy, plus it frees up prep time to prepare a simple tomato sauce while the eggplant roasts.
While Heinen’s sells eggplant year round, they also feature locally grown eggplant during the summer months. When available, I highly recommend trying them, especially when they’re a featured ingredient, like in this pasta. Like other locally grown produce, the flavor and texture of local eggplant can’t be beat.
- Cook time:
- Prep time:
- Total time:
- 2 medium locally grown eggplants (about 2 lbs. total)
- ¼ cup Heinen’s olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. Heinen’s dried oregano
- ½ tsp. Heinen’s crushed red pepper flakes
- 28 oz. can Heinen’s crushed tomatoes
- 1 lb. bag Heinen’s organic penne rigate artisan pasta
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- Heinen’s 24-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease a large sheet pan.
- Trim the ends off the eggplants, then cut into 1-inch cubes. Removing the skin is optional (I leave it on). Toss cubed eggplant with 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arrange eggplant in a single layer on the sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes, or until deeply golden brown, rotating the pan and stirring the vegetables halfway through.
- While eggplant roasts, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and sauté, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the oregano and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Add the tomatoes and bring sauce to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes while the eggplant continues to roast.
- Cook the pasta in heavily salted water according to package directions. Reserve a cup of the pasta water before draining.
- Check sauce for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Gently fold cooked pasta, roasted eggplant and basil into the sauce. If desired, add some of the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce. Serve pasta topped with lots of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.