This pasta alla norma (or eggplant pasta) is perfect for a mid-week meal. Lots of veggies and flavour but very little fuss! It requires not much hands-on time at all making it perfect for an easy dinner when you’re short on time. Plus, it’s seriously delicious!
I tweaked a recipe from RecipeTin Eats
- 800g eggplant
- 4tbs extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 300g pasta
- 3 cloves garlic
- Small brown onion
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1tsp dried oregano
- 1/2tsp red pepper flakes
- 700g tomato passata
- Basil leaves
- Preheat oven to 220C
- Dice the eggplant into roughly 2.5cm cubes and toss in 2tbs of the oil
- Place on a lined baking tray and season with salt and pepper
- Roast for 20 minutes, then turn and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until golden
- Cook the pasta until al dente then drain
- Meanwhile, mince the garlic and dice the onion
- Heat the remaining oil in a large pan and cook the garlic and onion until translucent
- Pour in the wine and let simmer, scraping the garlic and onion to mix through
- Add the dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and toss to combine
- Pour in the passata then add some water to the bottle, shake and pour in to the pan. Mix to combine and let simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly reduced
- Add the eggplant and pasta and gently combine
- Serve topped with fresh basil
That’s all there is to this pasta alla norma! The traditional version fries the eggplant but I definitely prefer the oven baked version for a mid-week meal. It also reduces how much work you have to do to make this – the oven is doing the heavy lifting for you!
If you’re making this for people who don’t like heat you can of course leave out the red pepper flakes, but I love the little hint of spice they add. If you’re not worried about keeping this vegan then topping it with some hard parmesan style cheese is a great addition as well – if not, check the seasoning and maybe add a little more salt.
Be careful when you’re tossing the pasta and eggplant through the sauce that you don’t break up the eggplant too much – you want it to hold its shape as much as possible. Making sure the pieces are nicely golden when they come out of the oven will help with this as they’ll have a bit more structural integrity! At the end of the day though that’s more about how it looks than how it tastes, so if they end up a little mashed into the sauce it won’t be the end of the world!