This delicious Pasta alla Norma recipe is a classic, Sicilian dish that is full of rich flavors.
Pasta alla Norma combines roasted eggplant (or fried eggplant) and a slow-cooked tomato sauce with pasta for an incredibly satisfying dish.
This iconic pasta dish is a Sicilian classic that's originally from the city of Catania on the Eastern coast of Sicily. It's named in honor of a famous opera called Norma - when the composer tasted the dish he exclaimed that the pasta was the "true Norma".
This pasta recipe takes about an hour to make, but much of it is hands-off time. The 30 to 40 minutes of simmering time results in a rich tomato sauce that provides an excellent base for this delicious recipe.
Here are the simple ingredients you'll need for this eggplant pasta.
- Fresh Eggplant
- Fresh Tomatoes
- Pasta (Spaghetti, Linguini, or a large shape like rigatoni pasta)
- Ricotta Salata or Parmesan Cheese
- Garlic Cloves
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Dried Oregano
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- Sea Salt
- Ground Black Pepper
Pat dry eggplant with a paper towel.
On a rimmed baking sheet combine eggplant cubes, ¼ cup olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and half the red pepper flakes.
Bake eggplant at 400 F for 40 minutes until golden brown, tossing occasionally.
Pat with a paper towel to remove excess oil from the eggplant slices.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When heated, add garlic and oregano.
Cook for 30 seconds and then add the tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, tomato paste, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
Simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and is jam-like.
Combine the tomato sauce and the eggplant.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to the package directions in a large pot of water.
Drain the pasta then add the pasta to the sauce.
Stir to combine and top with grated cheese and basil.
More Great Italian Recipes
If you love Italian cuisine, try some of these traditional recipes.
Substitutions & Variations
Want to make some changes to this recipe? Here are some optional ingredient swaps to make.
- Cheese - if you can't find ricotta salata, use parmesan or pecorino romano in its place. I do not recommend using ricotta cheese as it is wetter and has a creamier texture than ricotta salata (which has been aged and pressed).
- Herbs - you can use an Italian seasoning blend in place of the oregano.
This recipe will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container.
You may need two use a tablespoon or two of water when reheating to loosen up the sauce.
Tips for Making this Recipe
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Cooking Tips - Toss the eggplant pieces at least once while they are roasting, so they get a little crispy on each side.
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Pasta alla Norma
This authentic Pasta alla Norma recipe is a classic, Sicilian dish that is full of rich flavors.
- 1 ½ pounds eggplant (about 2 medium), diced into 1-inch cubes
- ¼ cup, plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 ½ pounds tomatoes (about 5 medium), coarsely diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound pasta (spaghetti, linguini, or pappardelle)
- ½ cup grated ricotta salata or parmesan
- ½ cup chopped basil
- On a rimmed baking sheet combine eggplant, ¼ cup olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and half the red pepper flakes. Bake eggplant at 400 F for 40 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil. When heated, add garlic and oregano. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Then add the tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, tomato paste, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
- Simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and is jam-like.
- Add the eggplant to the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to the package directions.
- Drain the pasta and then add it to the sauce. Stir to combine and top with grated cheese and basil.
- Serve immediately or save in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 228mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 9gSugar: 12gProtein: 13g