Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pasta alla Norma

I made this a few weeks ago (along with cherry chocolate almond biscotti, thai basil with eggplant, stir-fried tofu with spicy orange sauce, and what was supposed to be pumpkin quinoa muffins that I made with an over-ripe banana and some applesauce) and have been too busy to post until now. This recipe was featured in C00k's Illus. and was absolutely delicious. It also contains a helpful tip for prepping the eggplant because if you've ever made an eggplant dish you know it takes a while to cook and then brown and it soaks up a lot of oil in the process. If you love eggplant this recipe is for you.

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb eggplant (globe eggplant or similar weight of Asian or Japanese)
kosher salt
4 med. garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovy filets or 1 generous tsp of anchovy paste (don't skip this ingredient--trust me)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 lb penne or rigatoni
6 Tbs chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs olive oil
3 oz ricotta (I skipped this and used grated parmesan)

Cut eggplant into 1/2" cubes and toss with 1 tsp salt. Line a plate with coffee filters or paper towels and dump eggplant over top. Microwave on high and uncovered for about 5 minutes. Stir eggplant and microwave for another 5 minutes or until dry to the touch. Set aside to cool.

Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmery. Pour in eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until well-browned, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat, set aside eggplant and add 1 Tbs olive oil to pan along with anchovies, garlic and pepper flakes. Add tomatoes and turn heat to medium high until sauce begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 C pasta water and drain the rest. Turn up heat on sauce to medium high and add eggplant, cooking 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Stir in basil and season with salt if needed. Stir in pasta adding the reserved water if needed. Serve with ricotta or parmesan.


gwen1234 said...

Yum. How was the tofu with orange sauce?

Kelly said...

Fab, but I wasn't able to use freshly squeezed and therefore did not have any orange zest which I think would have been a good addition. It would have been good with shrimp but I didn't have any. Also, the biscottis? Seriously good eats. I am definitely going to make them again. I also realized, too late, that they would make an awesome hostess gift because they're supposed to be hard.

gwen1234 said...

Good call. Maybe also good to send in the mail -- I am always looking for something you can send without it falling apart or getting obviously stale.

H said...

I used your tip about eggplant for a different recipe tonight (still pasta, just with other stuff) and it worked great. thanks!

H said...

oh wait. I broiled it instead of doing it in the skillet, but still the microwave trick is a very good one. It was so nice to have silky textured eggplant and not puckery-salty eggplant.