Happy Friday! Gabby of @lapetite.italienne here bringing you one of my all-time favorites… and just in time for fall! The only natural thing to do after a pizza post— is to follow it with a pasta post. The two practically go hand in hand. People ask me all the time, what is your favorite thing to cook, what is your favorite dish etc. And although I love cooking pretty much anything and everything, I’ve learned that the true answer is pasta. It is so versatile, comforting, simple, and classic. Pasta can be one component of a multi-course, elaborate meal… or a perfectly satisfying entity all on its own. It is an absolute hallmark in Italian cooking, and I am excited to share with you my recipe for pasta alla norma 🙂
1/2 lb of pasta – rigatoni or penne rigate (something with ridges to hold on to the sauce) | 1 large clove of garlic finely chopped | 1/4 cup of olive oil | 2- 2.5 cups of cubed eggplant | 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved | 1/2 cup of tomato sauce | salt | crushed red pepper | oregano | basil | ricotta salata (mild + salty) for shaving
Before you start prepping the sauce, put a large pot of water on the stove to start heating up. Add a healthy pinch of salt to the water. When you are almost done with the sauce you will put your pasta in to cook following the timed directions of the pasta you choose. I used a gluten-free penne which typically takes a little longer than a traditional wheat pasta.
❶ Put olive oil in a sauté pan over medium/medium-high heat. ❷ Once the oil is warmed, toss in your garlic and let it soften, but watch to make sure it doesn’t burn. ❸ After about 2 minutes, add in your eggplant and grape tomatoes. ❹ Add a healthy pinch of salt, a pinch of oregano and a pinch of crushed red pepper to taste. Stir. ❺ Add in your tomato sauce, and a little more olive oil if needed. ❻ Stack, roll, and thinly slice approx 5-10 medium-large basil leaves into ribbons – add about half to your sauce and reserve the other half for finishing your pasta later on. ❼ Let this continue to cook on medium/medium high heat until the eggplant is cooked through. Stir regularly. *This might be a good time to put your pasta in to cook if the water is boiling. ❽ Once the eggplant is cooked through and the tomatoes have broken down, reduce heat to low. ❾ While your pasta is cooking, shave a small pile of ricotta salata that you will use to top off your dish. ❿ When your pasta is al dente, drain and transfer pasta into your sauté pan. Stir gently and incorporate your sauce and pasta together. Plate and finish with a healthy pinch of basil and ricotta salata.