Recipe Developed by Anca Toderic (@the.buttertable)
Pasta alla Norma typically uses ingredients such ripe tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, basil, and ricotta cheese. This Pasta alla Norma recipe departs from tradition by roasting the eggplant in grapeseed oil instead of frying.
Ingredients 6 Servings
Ingredients for Spaghetti alla Norma with Ricotta Cheese:
- 12 ounces of Barilla Spaghetti pasta
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 ½ pounds eggplant, peeled, and cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 pounds of tomatoes, beefsteak or heirloom, grated
- ½ bunch of fresh Basil, washed
- Ricotta cheese, for serving, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add eggplant to the baking sheet, drizzle with grapeseed oil; season with ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Toss well; ensure eggplant is evenly coated in oil. Transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes, flipping eggplant halfway through.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions; reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. When butter is melted, stir in the onion and sauté́ for 4-5 minutes until soft.
- Add the garlic and crushed red pepper; cook for another minute. Stir in tomato paste; cook for 2 minutes.
Pour in the grated tomato and add 2-3 sprigs of basil. Season with ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine; let sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add in some reserved pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
Remove basil leaves from tomato sauce; stir in roasted eggplant.
Add spaghetti to sauce; stir until pasta is evenly coated.
To serve: Add spaghetti with plenty of eggplant to a pasta bowl. Garnish pasta with ricotta cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and freshly cracked pepper.