Rigatoni alla Norma


Eggplant takes center stage in this family-friendly recipe from Quattro Gastronomia Italiana chef Nicola Carro.


  • 2 medium eggplants, diced

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 6 cups canola oil, for frying

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 cups Tomato Sauce

  • 1 pound rigatoni

  • ½ bunch basil leaves, thinly sliced

  • 8 ounces ricotta salata cheese, grated


  1. Place eggplants in a colander set in a sink or over a bowl. Season eggplant generously with salt and let stand for 15 minutes. Rinse eggplant under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels.

  2. Place flour in a shallow dish and, working in batches, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess.

  3. In a large pot, heat canola oil until it reaches 300 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches, fry eggplant until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon; repeat process with remaining eggplant.

  4. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add fried eggplant and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce and increase heat to a simmer.

  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt boiling water and return to a boil. Add pasta and cook, until almost al dente, about 2 minutes less than indicated on package instructions. Drain and add to skillet with eggplant mixture.

  6. Stir pasta until well combined with sauce, about 2 minutes. Add basil and season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with ricotta salata cheese.

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