Pasta alla Norma is a historical Sicilian dish with fun story about opera, Sicilians and wanting the best in everything. Move over eggplant Parm — this is the ultimate eggplant dish.
Technique tip: Chop all ingredients before turning on the heat for stress-free cooking and better timing.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- One 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 sprig fresh basil
- 2 large, firm eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 pound gemelli
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
- 1 cup grated ricotta salata
For the tomato sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Once the garlic is sizzling, add the tomatoes, fill the can with 1 cup water and add to the pot. Season with salt. Submerge the basil in the sauce.
Simmer the sauce until it is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Discard the basil.
For the pasta:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Trim the stems from the eggplants. Remove strips of peel about 1-inch wide from the eggplants, leaving about half the peel intact. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes and toss in a large bowl with the 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Dump into a colander and let drain for 1 hour. Rinse the eggplant under cool running water, drain thoroughly and pat dry.
3. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with half the olive oil. Turn the eggplant cubes onto the baking sheet, toss to coat with oil and spread them out in an even layer with the garlic. Bake until the eggplant is very tender and browned, about 25 minutes. Turn and stir the eggplant cubes gently once or twice during baking so they cook evenly.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the time on the package. When the pasta is done, remove it from the water with a strainer and add it directly to the pot of tomato sauce. Add roasted eggplant and torn basil leaves. Stir until all ingredients are mixed and coated with tomato sauce. Divide among four plates and top with grated ricotta salata.