Penne Alla Norma

One of the Italian inspired recipes from Elena Ciotti. Remember the end of season aubergines tend to be slightly bitter, therefore it is best to pre-salt them in advance.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 2 medium eggplants, unpeeled and cut into 2 cm x 2 cm blocks
  • Ina Paarman's Seasoned Sea Salt
  • canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Ina Paarman's Green Onion Seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
  • 1 x 400 ml Ina Paarman's Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce
  • 250 g penne
  • ± 1 cup (250 ml) pasta water
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • ½ tub ricotta or smooth cottage cheese
Method

Salt the cubed eggplant with our Seasoned Sea Salt. Place in a colander and leave to drain for 30 – 45 minutes (see pic).

Rinse briefly under the cold tap. Place a mixing bowl into the colander, over the eggplant and press as much water out as possible. Finally dry eggplant in a clean dishcloth.

Preheat ± 1 cm deep canola oil in a large frying pan, add eggplant. Fry in the oil, stirring now and again, until really soft 15 – 20 minutes. Scoop out eggplant with a slotted spoon and drain in the colander placed on a plate.

Pour all the oil, except 1 – 2 T, out of the pan. Season the chopped onion with Green Onion Seasoning and sauté in the oil until soft and glazed. Add garlic, cook for no more than 30 seconds and then add the Pasta Sauce. Leave to stand in the pan, away from the heat, while boiling the pasta according to pack instructions. Scoop cooked pasta out of the water into the sauce and add ± 1 cup of pasta water. Add the cooked eggplants. Reheat in the pan while stirring – simmer for 3 minutes to allow the flavours to blend properly and penetrate into the pasta. Taste for seasoning.

Dish up into pasta plates and top with basil leaves and blobs of ricotta cheese.

A perfect vegetarian main course. Follow with a well-dressed salad.

 

Variation

Add 1½ cups of cooked cubed chicken and ½ cup of cream.

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