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Eggplant Pasta Alla Norma

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  • Author: Helen Buxton


A simple Sicilian pasta with tomatoes and eggplant is everything you need on a cold winter night.


  • 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant/aubergine (cut into small cubes (about 1cm²))
  • 34 cloves garlic (crushed or sliced)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed chilis
  • 2 x 400 gram/14-ounce cans whole tomatoes
  • about 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • a bunch of fresh basil
  • 450 grams pasta (I used a variant of penne, but any medium-sized pasta shapes will do)
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese (to serve)


  1. Heat up the olive oil, then stir in the eggplant, making sure it all gets coated in oil. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and chilis to the pan and cook, stirring, for a couple more minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the pan, then crush and break them up with your wooden spoon. Pour in the balsamic vinegar, then add the sugar and season generously. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the eggplant is nice and soft.
  4. Stir in most of the basil at the end of the cooking time.
  5. Meanwhile, boil the pasta according to the packet instructions (until al dente is best), then drain, reserving some of the water.
  6. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss until well coated. Add enough of the reserved cooking water to make the dish nice and smooth and ‘saucy’, then rip the mozzarella into the pan and stir again briefly.
  7. Serve out into bowls immediately, topping with grated parmesan and the remaining fresh basil.


It’s really important to check that the eggplant/aubergine is nice and soft before you tip the pasta into the sauce. Undercooked eggplant is nasty!

Use ricotta cheese or pecorino instead of the mozzarella if you like (if you choose pecorino, you won’t need parmesan as well).

It isn’t the end of the world if you use crushed/chopped tomatoes, but whole tomatoes add a bit more ‘quality’ to the dish.

If you like, you can make this into a pasta bake. Just tip the finished pasta and sauce into a baking dish, sprinkle with plenty of parmesan and broil (UK – put under the grill!) until the cheese is bubbling and browned (probably about 4-6 minutes).

  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Italian
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