Go Back
Pasta alla Norma

Pasta alla Norma

When eggplants and tomatoes are bursting in the garden (or a friend's garden or the farmers market) let this dish help you use them both. Eggplants and tomatoes are soul sisters or brothers and bring rigatoni or penne pasta to life. Simple, satisfying and savory, this recipe will be in constant rotation in your summer repertoire.

Course entree, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword eggplant, pasta, tomatoes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Author The Cowgirl Gourmet adapted this recipe from Leite's Culinaria


For the eggplant

  • 1 lb eggplant diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

For the tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced or diced
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more for plating
  • 1 lb homegrown tomatoes this is about 3 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • 1 cup ricotta salata grated
  • Parmesan cheese grated, for garnish

For the pasta

  • 1 lb rigatoni or penne pasta


  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

To make the roasted eggplant

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel some of the skin off the eggplant in stripes, so only half of the eggplant skin remains.

  2. Cut eggplant into 1-inch dice, place in a big bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Mix well to combine and then place on baking sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes or until browned and very tender.

    Pasta alla Norma eggplant

To make the pasta

  1. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Add your choice of pasta and cook, stirring frequently, according to the package.

  2. When the pasta is almost cooked, remove 1 cup of pasta water from the pot and set aside, as you will use this to thin out the tomato sauce.

  3. When the pasta is al dente, drain into a colander.

To make the tomato sauce

  1. Meanwhile, warm a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss in the garlic and crushed red pepper and stir a bit.

    Pasta alla Norma garlic cooking
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and the juice, sprinkle with salt and cook until the tomatoes express their juice and the sauce thickens up a bit, about 15-20 minutes.

    Pasta alla Norma tomatoes cooking
  3. When the roasted eggplant is cooked, add it to the sauce, along with 1/2 cup of pasta water, and let it meld for 5 minutes. If the sauce tightens up and still needs thinning, add more pasta water and stir to combine.

    Pasta alla Norma tomatoes and eggplant
  4. Once the pasta has drained, add the pasta back into the pot and pour the tomato and eggplant sauce over the pasta.

    Pasta alla Norma pasta and sauce
  5. Add the chopped basil and parsley and stir to combine. Add the grated ricotta salata, toss well and serve.

  6. Once plated, sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes, grated Parmesan cheese and a bit more chopped basil for garnish.

    Pasta alla Norma
  7. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days.