This classic pasta dish from Sicily is one of the easiest and most satisfying. Made with toasted garlic, fried eggplant, tomatoes, basil and a dusting of Grana Padano, it's everyday Italian comfort food at its best.
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Pasta alla Norma
Recipe adapted from Joe Pasqualetto, Rucola, Brooklyn, NY
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
2 medium eggplants, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt, to taste
1 pound short-cut pasta, (such as caserecci or campanelle)
1 cup packed basil leaves, torn
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 ounces Grana Padano or ricotta salata, grated
1. Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly until the garlic is toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, season with salt, and cook until the tomatoes just begin to break down, about 8 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until just al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to the tomato sauce and toss with half the basil and red pepper flakes to combine. Simmer until the pasta has soaked a bit of the sauce and the basil has wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve with remaining basil and garnish with Grana Padano.