Pasta alla Norma with Roasted Eggplant

Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant.

This creamy eggplant Pasta alla Norma is made with carrots, celery, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and roasted eggplant. Great lunch or dinner idea that takes less than an hour to make! If you are a particular fan of eggplant, make sure to check out this eggplant pizza recipe!

Why You Will Love This Recipe

Quick recipe. This pasta recipe is ready within an hour.

Easy instructions. If you are a beginner at cooking, this recipe is perfect for you!

Delicious flavors.

Substitutes and Swaps

Vegan Pasta alla Norma

Use vegetable stock and nutritional yeast to substitute cheese. Add 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast to the sauce.

Mirepoix

Mirepoix is the base for many soups and sauces (like this Bolognese sauce) including the Pasta alla Norma base sauce. Mirepoix consists of three ingredients: carrots, onions, and celery. I tried making pasta with roasted eggplant without mirepoix as many recipes suggest but the flavor was bland. In my opinion, mirepoix is necessary for Pasta alla Norma to balance out the sourness of pureed tomatoes and add the overall sweetness to the dish without any processed sugars.

Fresh Basil

Fresh basil is the star of the dish, however, I understand that you might not have basil plants in your garden or kitchen. If you don’t have access to fresh basil you may substitute it with dried basil but the flavor will definitely differ.

Sieved Tomatoes (Tomato Passata)

Use crushed, sieved, or pureed tomatoes for this recipe.

Fresh Tomatoes

Tomatoes are optional but they do add flavor to the dish.

Ingredients

Ingredients for Pasta alla norma

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Prepare the Eggplant

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Chop the eggplant into 1-inch cubes and spread it onto a sheet pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the eggplant along with some olive oil. Rub the eggplant so that the oil spreads evenly. No need to let the eggplant “sweat” here!

Chopped eggplant for roasting

Just pop it into the oven and let it bake for 20 minutes. Flip the eggplant with a spatula and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Take the eggplant out and set it aside.

Roasted eggplant for pasta alla norma

Step 2 – Mirepoix

While the eggplant is baking, preheat a frying pan on a medium heat setting. Chop the onion into small pieces.

Chopped onion

Then, chop the carrots.

Chopped Carrots for Pasta alla Norma

Finally, finely chop celery.

Chopped Celery

Add some oil to the frying pan and fry the onions for a few minutes until translucent. Then, add chopped carrots and celery and let them fry for a few minutes. You can bring the fire a bit up so that the veggies brown a bit. Browning adds more flavor to the dish! Add chopped garlic and season with some salt and pepper.

Tip: add your salt gradually. You can add some salt at the beginning of the cooking process, in the middle, and close to the end. This way your dish will not taste too salty as the salt will have time to incorporate and blend into the dish.

Step 3 – Add the Tomatoes & the Stock

Chop your fresh tomatoes into small pieces.

Chopped tomatoes

Then, add them to the pan with mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrots). Then, add 2 ½ cups of chicken stock to the pan and let the veggies simmer on high heat for 5-10 minutes until most of the chicken stock evaporates. Finally, add the tomato passata (sieved tomatoes).

Mirepoix with tomatoes

Tip: Pour a little bit of water into the cans/boxes of the tomato puree after you poured the contents into the pan. Extra water will help get the rest of the tomato paste into the pan. The extra water is going to evaporate anyway!

Step 4 – Season and Simmer

Add the dried basil, oregano, bay leaves, and some more salt and pepper. Let the sauce simmer on medium-high heat for 15 minutes.

Adding seasoning to the pan with Eggplant sauce

After that fold in the eggplant. If you cool your eggplant first, then it won’t get as mushy, however, you can incorporate it hot as well (if you are impatient like I am!).

Pasta Alla Norma with Eggplant Sauce

Tip: don’t cover the sauce with a lid as it will make the evaporation process impossible.

Step 5 – Boil Pasta and Serve

Boil the preferred amount of pasta. You need to boil your pasta on a rolling boil for about 11 minutes. To be sure you can taste your pasta after 11 minutes and turn the heat off or give it a few more minutes to soften more. Strain the water and mix the pasta into the eggplant sauce. Serve with some fresh basil and grated cheese to maximize the experience!

Baked Eggplant Pasta alla Norma

Tip: never add oil to the pasta water. Adding oil doesn’t make any difference in taste but it rather makes it hard for the sauce to coat the pasta.

Tips for Success

– If you want your eggplant to be drier you can salt it after cutting it into small cubes and place it into a strainer for about 20-30 minutes. The salt will draw the extra liquid out from the eggplant and you will get drier results with less mush.

Use good quality tomato paste. There are some brands that offer cheap tomato passata but oftentimes the product had a lot of added water and is very liquid. You may use that but you will get better flavors if you go for a rather thicker type.

Don’t skip the fresh basil! You will be surprised how much difference that one ingredient makes.

– Use Parmesan cheese for the best flavor.

– If you don’t have chicken or vegetable stock you can use a bouillon cube instead. You will need 1 bouillon cube for 2 ½ cups of water. You can add more if you prefer.

Salt as you go. If you add all of your salt at the end the sauce will have a saltier taste than if you let the salt cook into the dish as you go.

Let the eggplant cool before adding it to the sauce as it will be easier to get them off the sheet pan without them breaking apart.

– To get even creamier eggplant pasta try soaking the eggplant in milk overnight. This will make your eggplant creamy, and tender, and will rid it of any bitter taste it might have.

You can experiment and try adding zucchini, sausage, cherry tomatoes, spinach, fresh mozzarella, or ricotta to your dish!

– If you prefer your eggplant pasta spicy, add some cayenne pepper during cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Peel Eggplant?

There is no need to peel the eggplant for this recipe! As you are roasting the eggplant the peel will soften enough for you to be able to chew it easily.

Should I Remove Eggplant Seeds?

There is no need to remove eggplant seeds.

Is It OK if Eggplant Seeds are Black?

If the seeds in your eggplant are black it means that the eggplant has gone bad. You should not be using eggplant with black seeds in it!

What is the Best Way to Cook Eggplant?

I think the tastiest way to prepare eggplant is definitely roasting. Roasting allows for that delicious browning that adds a savory flavor to your dish. You can roast your eggplant in a frying pan or in the oven but I find that roasting the eggplant in the oven yields better results as a sheet pan has more surface which allows for the eggplant to be spread out and minimizes the need to stir which in turn allows for less mushy eggplant.

Is It Necessary to Soak Eggplant?

If you are using older eggplants you might want to soak them in salt or milk before using them. However, if the eggplants are fresh you should be able to cook them without soaking them and still get good results!

Did you like my take on traditional Pasta alla Norma? Please, leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below! And if you REALLY liked this eggplant pasta recipe consider supporting it by buying me a coffee! 🙂 Thank you and have a great day!

Pasta alla Norma with Roasted Eggplant.

Pasta alla Norma – Eggplant and Tomato Sauce Pasta

Natasha
This recipe uses celery and carrots which gives this recipe deep flavor that the classic Pasta alla Norma lacks. Enjoy!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 portions
Calories 329 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 sheet pan
  • 1 large frying pan
  • 1 large pot for boiling pasta

Ingredients
  

  • 1 standard pack of soaghetti use gluten free if necessary
  • 3 medium eggplants
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 large celery sticks if your celery is small, use 3-4 sticks
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 medium tomatoes fresh
  • cups chicken broth use boullion cube dissolved in water if don't have broth
  • 2½ cups (500 ml) tomato passata
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh basil for serving
  • grated cheese for serving

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Chop the eggplant into 1-inch cubes and spread onto a sheet pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the eggplant along with some olive oil. Rub the eggplant so that the oil spreads evenly. No need to let the eggplant “sweat” here! Just pop it into the oven and let it bake for 20 minutes. Flip the eggplant with a spatula and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Take the eggplant out and set it aside.
  • While the eggplant is baking, preheat a frying pan on a medium heat setting. Chop the onion into small pieces, then do the same with carrots and celery. Add some oil to the frying pan and fry the onions for a few minutes until translucent. Then, add chopped carrots and celery and let them fry for a few minutes. You can bring the fire a bit up so that the veggies brown a bit. Browning adds more flavor to the dish! Add chopped garlic and season with some salt and pepper.
  • Chop your fresh tomatoes into small pieces and add them to the pan with mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrots). Then, add 2 ½ cups of chicken stock to the pan and let the veggies simmer on high heat for 5-10 minutes until most of the chicken stock evaporates. Finally, add the tomato passata (sieved tomatoes).
  • Add the dried basil, oregano, bay leaves, and some more salt and pepper. Let the sauce simmer on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. After that fold in the eggplant. If you cool your eggplant first, then it won’t get as mushy, however, you can incorporate it hot as well (if you are impatient like I am!).
  • Boil the preferred amount of pasta. You need to boil your pasta on a rolling boil for about 11 minutes. To be sure you can taste your pasta after 11 minutes and turn the heat off or give it a few more minutes to soften more. Strain the water and mix the pasta into the eggplant sauce. Serve with some fresh basil and grated cheese to maximize the experience!

Notes

– If you want your eggplant to be drier you can salt it after cutting it into small cubes and place it into a strainer for about 20-30 minutes. The salt will draw the extra liquid out from the eggplant and you will get drier results with less mush.
Use good quality tomato paste. There are some brands that offer cheap tomato passata but oftentimes the product had a lot of added water and is very liquid. You may use that but you will get better flavors if you go for a rather thicker type.
Don’t skip the fresh basil! You will be surprised how much difference that one ingredient makes.
– Use Parmesan cheese for the best flavor.
– If you don’t have chicken or vegetable stock you can use a bouillon cube instead. You will need 1 bouillon cube for 2 ½ cups of water. You can add more if you prefer.
Salt as you go. If you add all of your salt at the end the sauce will have a saltier taste than if you let the salt cook into the dish as you go.
Let the eggplant cool before adding it to the sauce as it will be easier to get them off the sheet pan without them breaking apart.
– To get even creamier eggplant pasta try soaking the eggplant in milk overnight. This will make your eggplant creamy, and tender, and will rid it of any bitter taste it might have.
You can experiment and try adding zucchini, sausage, cherry tomatoes, spinach, fresh mozzarella, or ricotta to your dish!
– If you prefer your eggplant pasta spicy, add some cayenne pepper during cooking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 329kcalCarbohydrates: 62.1gProtein: 14.8gFat: 3.4gSaturated Fat: 0.8gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 414mgPotassium: 1015mgFiber: 11.1gSugar: 13gCalcium: 202mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Pasta alla Norma, Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato Sauce, Roasted Eggplant with Romato Sauce
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