Penne with Roasted Eggplant, Tomatoes and Ricotta Cheese

By • March 14, 2011 14 Comments

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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
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Taste for salt and pepper. Top with Parmigiano Reggiano and remaining basil.

More Great Recipes: Entrees|Pasta|Vegetables|Eggplant|Ricotta

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Comments (14) Questions (0)


about 2 years ago Trena Heinrich

I made this yesterday for lunch and it was delicious! I made it with homemade ricotta which worked out really well and I added some ripe Italian red peppers I had growing in my garden. This is a keeper!


almost 2 years ago healthierkitchen

thanks for letting me know Trena. So glad you liked it! I love your additions. I keep meaning to make my own ricotta...


over 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh wow. This looks so delicious. This is going on the menu as soon as I get an another eggplant!


over 4 years ago healthierkitchen

Let me know what you think if you try it!


over 4 years ago Arathi

Wow. I literally love every single ingredient in this! I wish I was eating it right now.


over 4 years ago healthierkitchen

thanks for the nice comment, Arathi! I tend to make this when my husband is away as he doesn't care for eggplant...might be time to send him on a business trip:)


over 4 years ago wssmom

Immediately heading to market to get some eggplant and some tomatoes to slow roast .... yum!


over 4 years ago healthierkitchen

thanks wssmom - I hope you enjoy it!


over 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I wish I could think of a response more inventive than mmmmmmmmmmmm, but there it is. Looks wonderful!


over 4 years ago healthierkitchen

Thank you boulangere! I love fresh ricotta!


over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Yum! This looks great!


over 4 years ago healthierkitchen

Thanks, MrsL!


over 4 years ago healthierkitchen

Thanks so much AJ! I think if you'd like to try it, just leave out the pepper entirely. There's already plenty of garlic, as well as the basil and subtle thyme flavor in the tomatoes. You could add in a little extra thyme if you like. My daughter likes everything with a little heat, and I designed this with her in mind, so I put in the pepper. I don't think it will suffer without it, though.


over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh me, oh my. This is just gorgeous. Great recipe, HK!! ;o) P.S. What would you do if you could not Aleppo or any other pepper to this? Thanks.