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     Pasta alla Norma Header

 Pasta alla Norma
   Pasta alla Norma Photo
Category: Pasta & Rice, Spaghetti
Servings: 6 - 8
Total time: 1 hr 30 min
Level: Easy
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An authentic Italian recipe from our kitchen to yours. Buon Appetito!


- 1 pound of your favorite pasta such as spaghetti, rigatoni or penne

- 2 large eggplants (roughly 2 pounds total)

- 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, rinsed, cored and chopped

- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped

- 14 basil leaves

- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

- 1/2 cup ricotta salata cheese, grated

- Oil for frying

- Salt


1.  Rinse the eggplants and dry them. Cut the stems from the eggplants and discard. Slice the eggplants into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Remove the bitter, excess liquid from the eggplant by placing a layer of the eggplant slices into a colander and then sprinkling the top of the first layer with a generous pinch of course salt. Continue adding even layers of the eggplant rounds topped with a generous pinch of salt until all of the eggplant rounds are layered and salted in the colander. Place the filled colander into a bowl to catch the draining liquid and place a heavy bowl or pan on top of the layered eggplant to press down the eggplant and remove the extra liquid. Set aside and allow the eggplant to drain in this manner for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

2.  While the eggplant is draining, prepare the tomato sauce. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add the extra virgin olive oil, chopped garlic and chopped onion. Sauté the ingredients for 3 - 4 minutes or until the onion begins to turn translucent and the garlic becomes fragrant. At that point, add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Stir the ingredients to combine well, and add 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Cover the pan and allow the tomatoes to soften and begin to cook down - about 10 - 12 minutes.

3.  When the tomatoes have softened and are easily broken down with a fork, remove the pan from the heat. Pass the contents of the pan through a food mill to remove the tomato seeds and create a smoother sauce. Place the pureed sauce back into the pan and add the basil leaves as well as a pinch of salt. Heat the sauce again over medium heat, and bring it to a simmer. Simmer for another 10 minutes and then remove the pan from the heat and set aside while you prepare the eggplant.




4.  Once the eggplant has drained, thoroughly rinse the eggplant slices to remove the salt. Place the slices on paper towels and dry them very well.

5.  Fill a heavy pan with enough oil to fry the eggplant slices. Heat the oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot enough, place a few slices into the oil and fry them on both sides until they begin to turn a golden brown. Then remove the fried eggplant from the oil, and place the slices on a sheet pan lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan with too many eggplant slices or they will not cook evenly. Continue frying the eggplant slices in batches until they are all fried.

6.  Set the trays with the fried eggplant aside and allow them to cool slightly.

7.  In the meantime, fill a pot with water for cooking the pasta according to the manufacturer's instructions.

8.  Place the pan with the tomato sauce back on the stove over medium heat.

9.  Take the cooled slices of eggplant and cut them into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Place the eggplant strips into the pan with the tomato sauce and toss them thoroughly to coat them all with the tomato sauce.

10.  Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it well and add the drained pasta to the pan with the tomato sauce and eggplant. Combine the pasta and the sauce together so that the eggplant is evenly distributed throughout the pasta and the sauce evenly coats all of the pasta.

11.  Once the pasta is well mixed, remove the pan from the heat and plate the pasta in a serving dish. Top the pasta with the grated ricotta salata cheese and serve immediately.


- Ricotta salata is a hard, gratable cheese. If it cannot be found, you can use crumbled feta cheese or grated Pecorino Romano cheese as a substitute. The flavors will not be exactly the same, but similar to the original.

- For a faster preparation, you can use prepared pureed tomatoes or your favorite tomato sauce.

- For a lighter dish, you do not have to fry the eggplant. Lightly coat the eggplant slices in extra virgin olive oil and roast them for 15 - 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven. Once the eggplant begins to brown, remove the eggplant from the oven and proceed with the rest of the recipe.