Pasta alla norma recipe

Pasta alla Norma

This recipe combines the flavors of Sicily: eggplant, tomato and ricotta salata. It's a delicious summery dish, which can be enjoyed paired with a Southern Italian white wine. Enjoy!
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: eggplant, norma, ricotta
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 777kcal
Author: Nonna Box


  • 1 lb macaroni ziti, or penne
  • 1 lb eggplant round and firm
  • ½ to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ to 1 cup ricotta salata grated salted ricotta, to preference
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 ½ lb tomatoes chopped. canned are fine if fresh roma aren’t available
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh
  • ½ cup basil leaves


  • Slice the eggplant into ½ inch thick slices and then set to drain as described above (sprinkle with salt, then rinse and pat dry after 20-30 minutes).
  • Once your eggplant has drained and been patted dry, add olive oil to a large pan over high heat.
  • Add the eggplant to the pan and toss to coat with oil evenly and fry the eggplant (you will likely need to cook the eggplant in batches).
  • Sprinkle a pinch of oregano on the eggplant as it cooks.
  • Cook until all sides of the eggplant are golden, then remove to a plate and cook the next batch (do not drain on paper towels).
  • When the last batch is golden, add all cooked eggplant back to the pan along with a little more olive oil and the garlic. Turn the heat to medium.
  • Once the garlic is cooked, add the tomatoes. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes and add salt as necessary.
  • Start a pot of boiling water for the pasta. Cook according to pasta instructions until al dente then drain the pasta and reserve a cup of pasta water.
  • Tear up half of the basil and stir into the eggplant and tomato sauce, then pour over the pasta and toss.
  • Add a little of the reserved pasta water, if necessary, to get the sauce to evenly coat the pasta.
  • Plate the sauced pasta and sprinkle with the grated ricotta salata to taste, then garnish with fresh basil leaves.


  • If grilling the eggplant, we recommend adding to the tomatoes after they have been cooking for a few minutes to prevent the eggplant breaking down too much.
  • Another alternative is roasting the eggplant by cutting it in cubes, tossing in olive oil, sprinkling with salt and then roasting at 400° F until tender and golden brown. This would be added to the dish at the same time as the fried eggplant.
  • Dried red chili can also be added with the garlic if you like a little bite to the dish and remains a traditional option.
  • For a faster version of the dish, start with oil and garlic, and then add cubed eggplant and tomatoes at the same time. This loses some of the flavor but can be ready in just about the time it takes to boil the pasta.


Serving: 120g | Calories: 777kcal | Carbohydrates: 100g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 966mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1738IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 3mg
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