Don’t let summer pass you by without making pasta alla norma at least once. This classic Sicilian dish stars the Queen of summer produce: Eggplant. Deep fried in extra virgin olive oil, the eggplant cubes fit snugly inside those rings of Pasta Faella Calamari. Don’t be wary of frying in extra virgin olive oil. Not only is it traditional, it’s actually healthier than frying in other oils. We chose Corbarino tomatoes to form the sauce. Their natural sweetness and flavorful skins really round out this dish!
TIME: 1 hour
- Eggplant, 450g / 1 lb, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- Coarse Sea Salt, to taste
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 350ml / 1.5 cups + 2 tbsp
- Garlic, 1 clove, peeled and left whole
- Chili Peppers in EVOO, 1 tsp or to taste
- Tomato Concentrate, 1 tbsp thinned with a splash of wine or water
- Dried Oregano, 1 tsp
- Corbarino Tomatoes, 1 jar (680g / 23.9oz)
- Calamari Faella, 1 bag (500g /1.1 lbs)
- Ricotta Salata, 60g / 2 oz, coarsely grated
- Fresh basil leaves, to serve
- If you have time, place the eggplant cubes in a colander and sprinkle them with Trapani sea salt. Leave to rest for 40 minutes to draw out excess liquid.
- In a deep-sided, heavy bottomed pan, heat the 350ml / 1.5 cups extra virgin olive oil to 375°F/ 190°C. Working in batches, deep fry the eggplant cubes until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Drain on paper towels. You can do this step well ahead of time!
- In a pan, heat 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic clove to flavor the oil, then remove it when it begins to color (about 3-5 minutes). Reduce the heat to low and add the chili peppers, thinned tomato paste, dried oregano, and Corbarino tomatoes. Gently cook the sauce for about 10 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to boil, salted to taste and begin cooking the calamari pasta. When they’re 5 minutes or so away from al dente, stir the fried eggplant cubes into the tomato sauce. Drain the pasta when it’s about one minute shy of al dente, reserving a cup of pasta water. Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the pasta, adding pasta water and additional extra virgin olive oil as necessary.
- Divide between bowls and serve immediately, sprinkled with the coarsely grated ricotta salata, freshly torn basil leaves, and an additional drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.