Pasta alla Norma, i.e., Spicy Tomato Eggplant Sauce
This recreated recipe was so easy, no adjustments needed to my original recipe and I found that what I wrote in November 2011, still holds true to this day!
I always follow the chef rule, first in, first out when planning my meals. The FIFO rule is to use the foods in the order they were purchased and with fruits and veggies, I look at those peaking at their ripeness. Sharing more of my quirkiness, I have a blackboard in my kitchen where I list all the fruits and veggies I purchase just to ensure they all get used and not sit forgotten in my refrigerator(s). So I have an eggplant. And it’s going to be my dinner. Somehow, someway. I rarely plan a week’s menu, I just go with what I have on hand and what I desire. I think of several dishes, then I consider my cravings…pasta! No feeling carb guilty here… ever!
Spaghetti alla Norma is a tomato based pasta dish topped with fried eggplant slices. Since I prefer to minimize the use of fats, I opted to not fry and keep my dinner very healthy. I prepared a basic marina sauce and added chunks of eggplant to slowly simmer and melt into the sauce. Adding crushed red pepper is optional as it makes the sauce nice and spicy, as I like it, and the olives are optional but also add a nice little salty kick. I used a gluten-free brown rice pasta, which to my surprise tasted very good with the eggplant sauce.
Pasta alla Simmered Norma
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
1 28 oz can tomatoes (Organic San Marzano is preferred choice)
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed, about 4 cups
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons pitted Kalamata olives (optional)
1 cup veggie broth – add as needed
1 lb gluten-free brown rice pasta (or your choice or pasta)
In a medium –large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the onions stirring often to soften, but not color the onions. If you purchased whole tomatoes in the can, crush them with your hands (best tool ever) before adding to the saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients, except the veggie broth and pasta. Simmer on medium low for about 45 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the eggplant cooks and softens into the sauce. If you notice the sauce becomes too thick, stir in some of the veggie broth.
Meanwhile, prepare the pasta in plenty of boiling water until al dente. Drain pasta and add to the eggplant sauce. Serve immediately.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.
Pasta alla Norma is a favorite of mine, Linda. Love the use of eggplant — the more the better!