pasta alla norma



Pasta is my comfort food.  Which is a bit odd considering I am not Italian {although I sometimes pretend to be}.  If I am ever feeling under the weather, or in the throes of a major hangover, nothing is more comforting to me than an abnormally large bowl of pasta {even with just a simple butter and parmesan sauce}.  I freak even myself out with my ability to literally inhale an entire bowl of pasta faster than a growing teenage boy.

I first tried making a pasta alla norma, a delicious pasta that originated in Sicily, after seeing a recipe for it in Jamie’s Italy.  However, I didn’t love frying the eggplant separately as his recipe called for – eggplant tends to absorb anything and everything you throw at it, and I felt that the amount of oil soaked up by these greedy little sponges was a bit excessive {even for me}.  I love that this recipe from Saveur instead called for roasting eggplant {I have never met a roasted vegetable I didn’t like – see here}, which I found required less oil, resulted in a more flavorful pasta, and made my life easier – it allowed me to throw the julienned eggplant in the oven while I got cracking on the sauce.  All in, this recipe came together in about 40 minutes, and was absolutely delicious.

Recipe continued after the jump…




From Saveur

  • 2 medium eggplants, cut into 3/4″ cubes {I cut them into a large julienne}
  • 7 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Dried oregano {if desired}
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, undrained and crushed by hand
  • 16 fresh basil leaves, torn by hand {or chiffonade}
  • 1 lb. bucatini or spaghetti
  • 4 oz. ricotta salata, grated {if you can’t find ricotta salata, regular ricotta, crumbled up is lovely too}

Heat oven to 500º. Put eggplant into a bowl and drizzle with 4 tbsp. oil. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with dried oregano if desired.  Transfer eggplant to 2 baking sheets and bake, turning occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a rack; set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a 5-qt. pot over medium heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add chile flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic softens, about 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes and half the basil, season with salt, and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just al dente, about 9 minutes.  Drain pasta and transfer to tomato sauce.  Stir in reserved eggplant and toss to combine. Stir in remaining basil and season with salt.  To serve, transfer pasta to a platter and garnish with ricotta salata.








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20 Responses to pasta alla norma

  1. We grow eggplant now and am looking for different ways to prepare it. This would work nicely.

  2. Anne says:

    This is such a beautiful plate of pasta! I can see why it’s comforting. Love the photos –makes me hungry! 😀

  3. Your ingredient list looks amazingly wonderful and I would love to see you woof down a plate of pasta faster than my teenage boys. I am sure anything is possible…but you must be faster than fast.

  4. I’m like you and think that I’m Italian although it’s obvious I’m not 🙂 Love how you incorporated egg plant and used the thicker bucatini in this pasta dish — beautiful and it gives it so much more texture and bite. Have a great New Year!

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Hi Danny – thank you for stopping by! Love your new website! 🙂 Bucatini is one of my favorite pasta shapes also – I always buy boxes of it whenever I find it at a grocery store because it isn’t the easiest shape to find, but feels so much different to me than spaghetti. Love that you pretend to be Italian also! 🙂

      • Thanks for visiting as well — glad you like the “evolution” of things 🙂 Great idea that you stock up on it — nice tip! Good catching up with a “fellow Italian” LOL.

  5. Karen says:

    This sounds like a simple but delicious dish.

  6. My French Heaven says:

    Fantastic shots!

  7. Candy says:

    Looks fantastic, makes my mouth water 🙂

  8. My French Heaven says:

    I really love your photography!! What camera and lens do you use?

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