Not Your Grandmother’s Pasta alla Norma

This take on the classic Pasta alla Norma is untraditional without straying too far away from Grandma’s recipe. It’s got puréed eggplant (instead of fried chunks), fresh tomatoes (instead of tomato sauce), roasted shallots, and julienned spicy salami – all gloriously tossed with egg noodles.

Although I wasn’t anticipating this reaction, my family declared it one of my favorite dishes I’ve ever made (including from my crazy Italian fiancé).

Topped with both the classic, dry and salty ricotta salata and parmigiano, you’ll be making this heartwarming comfort food all fall and winter long. Sicilian red wine included.

 

 

 

Makes: for 4 people

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

The Ingredients

1-pound egg noodles (I like tagliatelle)

1.5 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 large garlic clove, minced

3 small eggplants (the smaller the eggplant, the smaller the seeds!)

4 large shallots, skins removed and cut in half

2 ounces (about 8-10 slices) spicy salami like calabrese, julienned

~1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

~1/4 pound grated ricotta salata, to garnish

~1/4 pound grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to garnish (or parmesan)

Fresh basil, to garnish

 

 

 

The Steps

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

For eggplant and shallots:

Prepare shallots by forming a bowl out of aluminum foil by pushing up the sides of three stacked pieces of aluminum foil up and around the sides of a water glass. Once formed, let the foil bowl stand on its own. Add olive oil and shallot halves. Close the opening of your aluminum foil bowl by pushing together the sides and sealing the top. Place foil package, closed, in oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Prepare eggplants by lining a baking sheet with foil, and placing eggplants on sheet. Poke each eggplant with fork 3-4 times to ensure eggplants don’t explode in the oven.

Bake eggplants for 25 minutes. Flip eggplants with tongs to the other side. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Eggplants should be shriveled and somewhat charred in appearance. Remove from oven and let cool about 20 minutes or until cool enough to pick up.

Slice eggplants open and scoop out filling into a bowl (including seeds unless you prefer to take them out!). Use a potato masher to mash eggplant, adding minced garlic and a dash of olive oil to flavor. Stir. Set eggplant purée aside.

For assembly: Boil egg noodles according to instructions. While pasta is boiling, add a dash of olive oil and tomatoes to a large pot.

Let tomatoes sauté over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until they just start to wrinkle. Turn heat to low and add eggplant purée, roasted shallots and the oil from the foil package, and salami. Drain pasta and add pasta to mixture. Toss gently until combined, adding olive oil if the pasta seems dry.

Plate and garnish with ricotta salata, parm, and basil. Serve with Italian red wine. What a plate of perfection!!

 

 

 

The Steps with Pictures

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

For eggplant and shallots:

Prepare shallots by forming a bowl out of aluminum foil by pushing up the sides of three stacked pieces of aluminum foil up and around the sides of a water glass. Once formed, let the foil bowl stand on its own. Add olive oil and shallot halves. Close the opening of your aluminum foil bowl by pushing together the sides and sealing the top. Place foil package, closed, in oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Prepare eggplants by lining a baking sheet with foil, and placing eggplants on sheet. Poke each eggplant with fork 3-4 times to ensure eggplants don’t explode in the oven.

Bake eggplants for 25 minutes. Flip eggplants with tongs to the other side. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Eggplants should be shriveled and somewhat charred in appearance. Remove from oven and let cool about 20 minutes or until cool enough to pick up.

Slice eggplants open and scoop out filling into a bowl (including seeds unless you prefer to take them out!). Use a potato masher to mash eggplant, adding minced garlic and a dash of olive oil to flavor. Stir. Set eggplant purée aside.

For assembly: Boil egg noodles according to instructions. While pasta is boiling, add a dash of olive oil and tomatoes to a large pot. Let tomatoes sauté over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until they just start to wrinkle.

Turn heat to low and add eggplant purée, roasted shallots and the oil from the foil package, and salami. Drain pasta and add pasta to mixture. Toss gently until combined, adding olive oil if the pasta seems dry.

Plate and garnish with ricotta salata, parm, and basil. Serve with Italian red wine. What a plate of perfection!!

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