This Pasta alla Norma is an easy, healthy, and delicious pasta recipe to add to your meal plan! It takes just about 30 minutes to make, so it’s perfect for a comforting weeknight dinner.
What is Pasta alla Norma?
Pasta alla Norma is an Italian pasta dish that features eggplant. It’s typically eaten in Sicily, as it originates from Catalia, Sicily. Traditional Pasta alla Norma ingredients include pasta, eggplant, tomatoes, basil, and ricotta salata cheese.
While I’ve never traveled to Sicily to eat this dish, I can imagine how delicious it would be to enjoy overlooking the seashores of Cefalu with a glass of crisp white wine.
This Pasta alla Norma recipe was my little way to send my taste buds on a trip, while we are hunkering down and staying safe at home.
Ingredients in Pasta alla Norma
To make this recipe, I stuck mostly to the traditional ingredients it calls for, but swapped out ricotta salata for parmesan and fresh mozzarella. It’s so delish! Here is everything you need:
Pasta: To make this recipe gluten free, I used Yellow Pea pasta from ZENB. The first of its kind, ZENB Yellow Pea pasta has more protein and fiber than traditional pasta, but still looks and tastes like the real thing. It cooks up perfectly al dente, and pairs well with all your favorite pasta sauces. I used their rotini, because the spiral shape holds up well in the chunky sauce.
Eggplant: You will roast the eggplant in the oven to caramelize it and bring out the flavors before mixing it into the tomato sauce.
Canned tomatoes: I used one can of diced tomatoes and one can of crushed tomatoes for the different textures they add to the sauce.
Onionand garlic: These add lots of flavor to the simple tomato sauce.
Fresh basil: This goes in the sauce itself, and then as a garnish atop each bowl of pasta.
Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated over the pasta, this adds savory and salty flavor to the pasta.
Fresh mozzarella cheese: I used small ciliegine sized balls of mozzarella. If you can’t find the smaller balls, just slice up a larger one.
Salt, pepper, olive oil, and red pepper flakes
How to make Pasta alla Norma
First, roast the eggplant in the oven. Toss with plenty of olive oil and season simply with salt and pepper. Cooking the eggplant in the oven versus the stovetop helps bring out the sweetness and caramelizes the edges, giving it a more complex flavor.
While the eggplant cooks, prepare the tomato basil sauce on the stovetop. Once the eggplant is done roasting, stir it right into the pan of tomato sauce.
Cook the pasta in salted water, then drain. Mix it into the sauce and toss well to combine.
Serve right away, topping each bowl with a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese, a few mozzarella balls, and more fresh basil.
Preheat oven to 415 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss the eggplant in 2 tbsp of the olive oil and a generous shake of salt and pepper. Spread out evenly on the baking sheet, and roast for 25-30 minutes until edges are beginning to brown and eggplant is fork tender.
Heat the remaining olive oil on medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Pour in both cans of tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and a generous shake of salt and pepper.
Stir in half the basil, then bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
When the eggplant is done roasting, stir it into the tomato sauce.
Drain the pasta once it is done cooking, and stir it into the tomato sauce until everything is well combined.
Top each bowl with fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and a few mozzarella balls.
Keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Keywords: pasta alla norma, gluten free
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Thank you ZENB for sponsoring this blog post! I’m grateful to partner with brands I love to cook with, and all opinions are my own.