This well-known Sicilian dish will be a welcomed addition to your rotation of crave-worthy Italian fare. Famous Pasta alla Norma is loaded with all the authentic Italian flavors, and that’s what made it famous! Packed with eggplant and al dente pasta, a deliciously seasoned tomato sauce envelopes everything about this bowl of loveliness to create the celebrated Italian taste you know and love. Famous Pasta alla Norma will easily become the most prominent item on your Italiano menu after just one tasting. It’s just that legendary!

Ingredients

  • extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 2 eggplants, partially peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 10 ounces rigatoni
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into strips, plus more, whole leaves, to taste, for garnish
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • sugar, to taste
  • ricotta salata or parmesan cheese, to taste, grated, for serving

Directions

Step 1 –Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Step 2 –Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper with the olive oil.

Step 3 –Place the eggplant rounds on the prepared baking sheet and liberally coat them with more of the olive oil.

Step 4 –Season the eggplant rounds with the salt and the pepper.

Step 5 –Roast the eggplant rounds, flipping them halfway through, until they are soft and golden, but still hold their shape, about 35-40 minutes.

Step 6 –In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the rigatoni to al dente, according to the package directions.

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Step 7 –Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest.

Step 8 –In a large skillet, add more of the olive oil, the garlic, and the red chili flakes and sauté until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Step 9 –Mix the tomatoes and their juices, 1/4 cup of the basil, and the Italian seasoning into the garlic mixture and bring to a low simmer. Cook the sauce, about 15-20 minutes.

Step 10 –Taste the sauce and season it with the salt, as needed. Taste it again and use the sugar to adjust the acidity, as needed.

Step 11 –Add the roasted eggplant rounds to the sauce and gently mix, being careful not to break up the tomato chunks too much.

Step 12 –Add in the cooked rigatoni and the reserved pasta water to the sauce and toss to combine. Cook until they are warmed through.

Step 13 –Serve the pasta sprinkled with the cheese and garnished with the extra basil leaves.