Pasta alla Norma (Eggplant Pasta)

5 from 10 votes
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Pasta alla norma (Sicilian eggplant pasta) combines eggplant with tomato sauce, pasta, and parmesan for a hearty and wholesome meal! It is a wonderful summery recipe that can be enjoyed any time of the year!

A serving of Pasta Alla Norma topped with fresh basil leaves

I love pasta – it’s hearty and comforting but can also be elevated to something extraordinary. And this aromatic pasta alla Norma (aka tomato and eggplant pasta) will be the perfect addition to your mid-week meal rotation. I’ve made it with roasted eggplants to avoid the messy oil-heavy frying process. The result is an easy and delicious vegetarian meal the whole family will love.

Watch how to make it

Ingredients

Ingredients for eggplant tomato pasta
  • Eggplant: Use a firm, ripe eggplant with no bruises.
  • Tomatoes: I used a combination of a high-quality can of peeled plum tomatoes (like Italian San Marzano) and some homemade tomato paste. Alternatively, use some passata only.
  • Pasta: I used rigatoni pasta and recommend a tube-shaped pasta for picking up all the sauce. However, you can use spaghetti, bows, or whatever pasta you prefer (including gluten-free).
  • Aromatics: Onion, garlic, and basil.
  • Seasonings: Salt and pepper, chili flakes, and oregano (or Italian seasoning). The oregano and chili flakes are both optional, though. 
  • Cheese: If you’re able to find it, you can use Ricotta Salata (salty ricotta). Otherwise, parmesan is a great alternative.
  • Oil: Use a neutral cooking oil like olive oil when cooking the eggplant.

How to make pasta alla norma

Cook the eggplant: First, clean and dice the eggplant into around 1-inch pieces. Then drizzle with oil and toss well to coat the pieces (in a bowl or straight on a parchment-lined baking sheet). Place the eggplant pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in an air fryer basket, then roast them (check my detailed guide on cooking eggplant).

  • In the Oven: Bake for 25-35 minutes in a preheated oven at 400ºF/200ºC, flipping once halfway. 
  • In the Air fryer: Cook for 15-20 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC, flipping once halfway (or at least shake the basket). 

Cook the pasta: Meanwhile, as the eggplant cooks, cook the rigatoni pasta according to the pasta instructions. I like to undercook it by 2-3 minutes as it will cook further when combined with the sauce. That way, you can avoid over-done pasta. Once cooked, drain the pasta but save some pasta water (about 1 cup). This will help the sauce to adhere to the pasta better and create a silkier mouth-feel to the dish. 

Make the pasta sauce: First, finely chop the onion and garlic (do this in the last 5 minutes of the eggplant baking time). Then add them to a large pre-heated skillet over medium heat and allow them to saute for 1-2 minutes. Next, add the tomato paste and spices and stir well to combine before adding the peeled plum tomatoes (the sauce included). Mash the tomatoes lightly with your spoon and stir well. 

At this point, if wanted, you can add some of the pasta water – start with 1-2 Tbsp and add more until you achieve the consistency you like.

Steps for preparing pasta sauce and adding pasta and eggplant

Assemble: Finally, add the cooked eggplant and pasta to the tomato mix. Stir well to incorporate then give it a quick taste and adjust any of the seasonings if needed.

Serve the eggplant pasta, topped with some fresh basil and grated cheese. Enjoy it by itself (this dish is a complete meal!) or serve it with a simple side salad and some garlic bread.

Close up of pasta alla norma

If you try this pasta alla Norma recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Pasta alla Norma (Eggplant Pasta)

5 from 10 votes
By: Samira
Pasta alla norma (Sicilian eggplant pasta) combines eggplant with tomato sauce, pasta, and parmesan for a hearty and wholesome meal! It is a wonderful summery recipe that can be enjoyed any time of the year!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 pound eggplant
  • 14 oz peeled plum tomatoes 1 can (like Italian San Marzano)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste or sub both the plum tomatoes and paste for passata
  • 7 oz pasta rigatoni or your choice of pasta
  • 1 onion optional
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • few leaves basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano optional
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes optional, to taste

Instructions 

Cook the eggplant

  • Clean and dice the eggplant into around 1-inch pieces.
  • Drizzle with oil and toss well to coat the pieces (in a bowl or straight on a parchment-lined baking sheet).
  • Place the eggplant pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in an air fryer basket then cook:
    In the oven: Bake for 25-35 minutes in a preheated oven at 400ºF/200ºC, flipping once halfway.
    In the air fryer: Cook for 15-20 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC, flipping once halfway (or at least shake the basket).

Cook the pasta

  • Meanwhile, as the eggplant cooks, cook the pasta according to the pasta instructions. I recommend undercooking it by 2-3 minutes as it will continue to cook when combined with the sauce.
  • Once cooked, drain the pasta but save some of the pasta water (about 1 cup – it helps the sauce to adhere to the pasta better).

Make the pasta sauce and assemble

  • Finely chop the onion and garlic (do this in the last 5 minutes of the eggplant baking time). Add them to a large preheated skillet over medium heat and allow them to saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and spices and stir well to combine before adding the peeled plum tomatoes (the sauce included). Mash the tomatoes lightly with your spoon and stir well.
    At this point, if wanted, you can add some of the pasta water – start with 1-2 Tbsp and add more until you achieve the consistency you like.
  • Add the cooked eggplant and pasta and stir well. Give it a quick taste and adjust any of the seasonings if needed. Serve, topped with cheese and fresh basil, and enjoy!

Video

Notes

To store: Store the pasta alla norma combined or store the pasta and eggplant sauce separately. Allow to cool and then store, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 
To freeze: Allow the pasta to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw in the fridge before reheating. 
To reheat: If combined, the eggplant pasta can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through. If separate, reheat the sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop. To reheat the pasta, add it to a pot of boiling water to heat through for around 1 minute.
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Freezer friendly: 3 Months
Shelf life: 3-5 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 560kcal, Carbohydrates: 105g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 950mg, Potassium: 1319mg, Fiber: 14g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 574IU, Vitamin C: 31mg, Calcium: 146mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 10 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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