This is a traditional Sicilian recipe. Hearty with eggplant and ricotta salata, it just happens to be meatless! Roasting the eggplant thoroughly is key, and using succulent tomatoes, such as the San Marzanos indicated here, will offer additional sweetness. We pair it with our whole wheat spaghetti made from hard red winter wheat — it’s robust enough to stand up to the richness of this sauce.
Pasta alla Norma
- 10 oz. Community Grains 100% Whole Wheat Spaghetti
- 1 large eggplant, chopped into ½ inch cubes
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 28 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes (pureed or diced with juices)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup basil, sliced into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
- Shaved ricotta salata or pecorino, to taste
- Start by making the sauce. Place a deep and wide saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil, the garlic, and chili flakes. Stir about 30 seconds, careful not to brown the garlic. Add in the can of tomatoes (with juices), tomato paste, nutmeg, and oregano. Simmer on low for at least an hour, up to 2 hours. You want the sauce to become jam-like and begin to gel or slightly brown at the edges. Stir sporadically.
- Once sauce is simmering, move on to the eggplant. Heat oven to 400ºF. On a baking sheet, toss the cubed eggplant with a tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Bring 4 quarts of well-salted water to rolling boil in a large pot. Add the spaghetti and cook for 5-7 minutes, until just al dente. Drain and set aside. When the sauce is done to your liking, toss the spaghetti with the just-cooked tomato sauce to warm through for 1 minute. You don’t want to overcook the pasta, so do this once the eggplant is done and you’re ready to serve.
- Pour out the spaghetti in warm tomato sauce into a large serving dish and top with the roasted eggplant. Finish with shaved cheese and finely sliced basil, a splash of olive oil, and a twist of fresh black pepper.