Al Bronzo Penne alla Norma with Air Fried Eggplant

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This Pasta alla Norma recipe, or Pasta with Eggplant, is inspired by the classic dish from Sicily. This particular recipe departs from tradition, using an air fryer to cook the eggplant to achieve a crispy texture. The eggplant is then combined with cherry tomatoes, creamy ricotta cheese, freshly torn basil, and Barilla Al Bronzo Penne pasta. 

Barilla Al Bronzo pasta is made by extruding dough through a bronze die that is micro engraved. This gives the pasta a rougher texture, allowing pasta sauces to perfectly adhere to our beautifully crafted pasta.

Ingredients 7 Servings


  • 1 box Barilla® Al Bronzo™ Penne Rigate pasta
  • 1 medium yellow onion, julienne
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced 2/3 inch
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¾ cup Ricotta Salata cheese, grated          
  • 6 leaves fresh basil, torn
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • To need all-purpose flour for dredging
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  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

  • Peel half of the eggplant and cut the entire eggplant into small, diced pieces. Season with salt.

  •  Dust eggplant with a little flour and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, air fry @400 °F for 7-8 min.; set aside.

  • Place onions in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil, cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat, until soft and translucent. 
  • Stir in tomatoes. Season mixture with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Cook pasta two minutes less than the package directions, reserving one and half cups of the pasta cooking water. 
  • Stir in 1-cup pasta cooking water to the sauce, keep cooking over medium heat.

  • Add fried eggplant and simmer for 2 minutes.

  • Drain pasta and toss with the sauce in the skillet and if needed, add more pasta cooking water. Stir in remaining olive oil.

  • Garnish with cheese and torn basil leaves sprinkled over the top.

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