Monday, July 10, 2017

Mario Batali's Pasta alla Norma

By: The Food Hunter

Pasta alla Norma, a traditional Sicilian dish found on just about every menu in Sicily, is a hearty pasta that is easy to fall in love with. It combines the perfect balance of eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese to create a satisfying vegetarian meal. The version below is from Mario Batali, and I think it is perfect.

Mario Batali's Pasta alla Norma

6 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Red Onion (thinly sliced)
2 pounds small to medium Eggplant (cut 1/4-inch cubes)
Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
1 pound Penne
Basic Tomato Sauce (see recipe below)
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Cheese
10 fresh Basil Leaves (roughly torn)
8 ounces fresh Ricotta
8 ounces Ricotta Salata (for grating)

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cook penne 1 minute less than the package instructions and drain.

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and season with salt. Saute for a few minutes until tender. Stir in the eggplant and allow to cook for 3 minutes without moving. Stir the mixture and then add the cooked noodles and some basic tomato sauce just to coat the noodles. Add freshly torn basil leaves, grated pecorino and a few drizzles of olive oil and toss to combine.

In a medium bowl whisk together the fresh ricotta with a few tablespoons of pasta water to loosen. Serve the pasta with large dollops of the fresh ricotta and freshly grated ricotta salata.

Yield: 4 cups

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Salt, to taste

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve.

This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.


  1. now this needs to be on my table tonight!

  2. Meals like this are pure comfort for me!! Love it!

  3. Pasta Norma has to be one of my favourite Italian dishes... delicious ♥

  4. I've been thinking about this recipe... We love eggplant, and this looks absolutely wonderful!