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Weeknight Pasta alla Norma
SERVES: 4 to 6 servings

Although this dish is usually made with fried eggplant, this recipe calls for roasting the eggplant cubes while the sauce simmers, so it can actually be on the table in under an hour. It makes enough for about a pound and a half to two pounds of pasta, depending on how generously you sauce yours up.

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Gather Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 375°. Bring a large pot of 6 to 8 quarts of water and a tablespoon of salt to a boil over high heat. Drizzle the eggplant cubes with some of the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to distribute well. Spread out the cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet, and roast until crisp on the edges and tender in the centers—as little as 20 minutes for small pieces or 35 for large ones.

Step 2

Cook the garlic in a generous amount of olive oil over medium-low heat until it just starts to color (don’t let it brown). Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, breaking up large chunks with a potato masher. Simmer about 20 minutes, then taste and add salt and pepper, as desired.

Step 3

Cook penne to al dente according to the package directions. Add the eggplant to the sauce, leaving aside some cubes if you have any kids that might be more open to tasting them plain. Toss the pasta with some of the sauce, and dish up portions (keep some sauce plain or do your buttered noodle thing, depending on your kids). Scatter basil over the top of each portion, and grate ricotta salata over the top (it’s extra tasty if you use the large holes on a box grater).


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