Participation to ‘A to Z recipe challenge’ provokes to think about recipes which are off-beat, not exactly run-of-the-mill and thus interesting. This time around, the challenge is to prepare a dish with key ingredient starting with the letter ‘E’. Eggplant comes naturally to mind which I thought to use in Pasta. And the pasta has to be ‘Pasta alla Norma’, a typical Sicilian cuisine, coming from southernmost part of Italy. The original recipe is prescribed to be made with macaroni, tomatoes, ricotta salata cheese, fresh basil leaves along with fried egg plants. I could find neither ricotta not fresh basil easily and replaced them with the dried basil and local cheese, without much ado. And I have used ‘penne’ as well. The result is yummy creamy Pasta all Norma with the Italian job accomplished.
Ingredients to serve 2 :
- Dried penne – 175 gm.
- Ripe tomato – 400 gm.
- Eggplant – 300 gm.
- Garlic (finely chopped) – 2 cloves
- Dry basil – 1 tbspoon
- Dry oregano – ½ tbspoon (optional)
- Red chilli flake – ½ tbspoon (optional)
- Grated cheese – 100 gm.
- Salt to taste
- Olive oil – 2 tbspoon
- Refined oil – 4-5 tbspoon
Wash the eggplant and cut into moderately thin round slices. Coat both sides of the eggplant slices with salt and keep aside for 15-20 minutes. After that using a kitchen tissue paper soak the water released by the eggplant slices and dry them completely. Now cut the round slices into thin long pieces as shown in the picture below.
Wash the tomatoes and dip them into sufficient amount of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Then transfer them into a bowl full of cold water. As the tomatoes get cool peel off their skin and chop into small pieces.
Heat refined oil in a kadai and fry the eggplant pieces till golden brown. Remove them from kadai and keep aside.
Now add olive oil in the kadai and let it warm.
Add chopped garlic and fry till it starts changing colour.
Now add chopped tomato and dried basil. Add salt to the mixture as per your taste. Cook the mixture for 40-45 minutes till the tomato gets mushy. Then add dried oregano, chilli flakes, ¾ of the grated cheese and ¾ of the fried egg plant, give them a good stir.
Meanwhile, bring a large, heavy-based saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the pasta, return to the boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the pasta well and add to the tomato and eggplant sauce.
Cook for 3 minutes, then transfer to a serving dis.
Garnish the pasta with remaining fried eggplant and grated cheese.