Under 30 Minutes

Penne alla Norma

Legend has it that this recipe was created as a tribute to the opera "Norma"; composed by Vincenzo Bellini, who was from Sicily, where this dish originated.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
Penne alla Norma

Source: Everyday Food, September 2003

Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese

Directions

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain pasta; return to pot.

  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add eggplant to skillet; season generously with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook until eggplant begins to release juices, about 5 minutes. Uncover; cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes (if bottom of pan browns too much, add a few tablespoons water, and scrape with spoon).

  4. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and 1/4 cup water to skillet; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

  5. Toss sauce and basil with pasta; gently reheat if necessary. Top each serving with a spoonful of ricotta, and garnish with more basil.

Cook's Notes

Crushed red pepper adds spice to this dish. Vary the amount according to taste.

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