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Author Notes: This is my version of Pasta alla Norma. If you don't already have slow roasted tomatoes or a recipe for them, you can slow roast some cherry tomatoes - cut in half - open end up - drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and a couple of springs of thyme, at 225 degrees for about three hours. —healthierkitchen
Serves 3 - 4
- 1 eggplant, diced into about 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 - 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 fat cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 small to medium sized onion, peeled and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 cup to a cup and a half of slow roasted tomatoes - not sun dried! See note above for a simple version.
- 8 ounces penne rigate (you can use whole wheat if you like)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmigiano Reggiano grated on top
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Put up a pot of water for the pasta. When the water boils, prepare pasta according to directions on package. When the penne is cooked, reserve a half cup of the pasta water, and drain pasta and place into a large bowl.
- Drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil onto a half sheet pan or low sided roasting pan and spread around. Add the eggplant pieces and another tablespoon or two of the olive oil and toss well. Spread the pieces out into a single layer and roast in oven for about 15 - 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until soft and caramelized but not crispy.
- In a saute pan over medium heat, sweat the onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle a pinch or two of salt and some black pepper over top. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic and Aleppo pepper or cayenne. After about two minutes add the tomatoes. If the pasta is not ready yet, set burner to low until pasta is done.
- Add the tomato mixture from the pan to the bowl with the pasta, then add the eggplant pieces and the basil (reserving a pinch for garnish, if you like).
- Add the ricotta cheese, mixing gently but well. Use some of the pasta water, a teaspoon at a time, if you'd like to thin the sauce a little.
- Taste for salt and pepper. Top with Parmigiano Reggiano and remaining basil.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dinner That Makes a Good Lunch
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Fresh Ricotta