Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pasta Alla Norma

It’s been kind of nice lately planning our meals around the produce we harvested from the garden. We had some beautiful eggplants that needed used, so I found this recipe. Yum! This is a delicious skillet pasta dish!

Pasta Alla Norma

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds), ends trimmed, cut into ½-inch cubes (I peeled mine)
3 (14.5 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
¼ - ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups water
12 ounces (about 3 ¾ cups) penne, ziti, medium shells, farfalle, campanelle or orecchiette pasta (I used campanelle)
4 ounces ricotta salata cheese OR Parmesan OR Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved (about 1 cup)
¼ cup minced fresh basil leaves
Ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the eggplant and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is fully tender and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl, cover to keep warm, and set aside.

Meanwhile, pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until coarsely ground and no large pieces remain, about 12 pulses.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the garlic, and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the processed tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes no longer taste raw, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the water, then add the pasta. Cover, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until the pasta is tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

Stir in the eggplant and ricotta salata cheese (or Parmesan or Romano) and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Stir in the basil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve, passing the Parmesan separately.

Recipe Source: The Best Skillet Recipes (from Cook's Illustrated)

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