This pasta is a simple and easy dinner that’s satisfying and ready in about 20 minutes. For many folks, school is starting soon (where the heck did summer go??) and having some throw together meals in the rotation is always key. This vegetarian meal is full of yummy eggplant, tomato sauce and topped with fresh basil and goat cheese – you won’t even miss the meat.
I received this beautiful cookbook for Christmas and have enjoyed its rustic, authentic Italian recipes. Apparently, this recipe was named after the opera Norma because its blend of fried eggplant, tomato sauce, ricotta cheese and fresh basil was considered near perfection. I have to agree. I swapped out the ricotta for goat cheese, just because I love goat cheese, but you can’t go wrong either way. PS – as much as I love making my own tomato sauce, store-bought is so much easier. The organic, lower-sodium ones are my picks.
I served this pasta a few weeks ago to some friends with some crispy chicken thighs and fresh arugula salad. AND, it was on a weeknight. I wasn’t kidding when I said this was easy – yet fast and elegant enough for weeknight entertaining. The leftover pasta was a scrumptious lunch at work the next day, especially with some Italian jarred chilis for added heat. Easy + fast + delicious = perfezione.
Pasta Alla Norma (adapted from The Country Cooking of Italy by Coleman Andrews)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 pound dried short gluten-free pasta (454 grams)
- 4 ounces goat cheese or ricotta cheese
- 10 to 15 basil leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain cooked pasta.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and stir quickly to coat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently for 5 to 6 minutes, until they are slightly browned. Reduce heat to low and add sauce until heated through and just simmering. Remove from heat.
Add drained pasta to sauce and stir until pasta is coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cheese and basil and serve immediately.