Pasta Alla Norma (Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Eggplant)
Chef Sara Jenkins of New York City's Porchetta gave us the recipe for this spicy, comforting pasta dish, inspired by one made by Italian chef Salvatore Denaro.
Enlarge Image Credit: Todd ColemanSERVES 4—6
2 medium eggplants, cut into 3/4″ cubes
7 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, undrained and crushed by hand
16 fresh basil leaves, torn by hand
1 lb. bucatini or spaghetti
4 oz. ricotta salata, grated
Heat oven to 500º. Put eggplant into a bowl and drizzle with 4 tbsp. oil. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Transfer eggplant to 2 baking sheets and bake, turning occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack; set aside.
Heat remaining oil in a 5-qt. pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add chile flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic softens, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and half the basil, season with salt, and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to tomato sauce. Stir in reserved eggplant and toss to combine. Stir in remaining basil and season with salt. To serve, transfer pasta to a platter and garnish with ricotta salata.