Pasta alla Norma
Friends, I’m not sure if it’s possible for me to go an entire week of Vegan MoFo without posting a pasta recipe. And, to be honest, I probably cook pasta at least twice a week even when it’s not MoFo. It’s so easy, so clean-out-the-fridge, and pretty much all I have time for most nights.
But it turns out that pasta doesn’t have to be boring. And, even better, it can be pretty exciting with only a few simple ingredients like eggplant and garden-fresh tomatoes. Oh, and definitely some fresh basil to throw on top. You have to have the basil–it’s like the definition of late summer or something.
So. If you have some tomatoes, some eggplant, a little basil, and some dried pasta (or fresh pasta…and if you’re kick ass enough to make fresh pasta, can we be friends???) and only a little bit of time to cook, I recommend you whip up this super easy-simple-fast Pasta alla Norma by the New York Times and impress your friends, loved ones, or cats.
Pasta alla Norma
From the New York Times
1 1/2 lb eggplant
Olive oil as needed (at least 1/2 cup)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4-1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes
1 1/2 lb tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp good dried oregano, or 1 tbsp fresh
1 lb long pasta
1/2 c chopped parsley or basil
Slice the eggplant about 1/2 inch thick. Warm a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook the eggplant in the oil, without crowding, sprinkling with salt and adding more oil as needed. You will undoubtedly have to cook in batches; take your time and cook until the eggplant is nicely browned and soft. Remove to a plate; do not drain on paper towels.
Meanwhile, put a large pot of water to boil and salt it for the pasta.
At the end of the cooking the eggplant, the pan will ideally have a couple of tablespoons of oil left. If there’s more or less, drain some off or add a bit. Add the garlic and chile flakes, and cook until the garlic colors a little bit. Add the tomatoes and oregano, along with some salt and pepper; cook until saucy but not too dry, stirring occasionally.
Cook the pasta in the pot of boiling water until tender but not mushy (10ish minutes). While it’s cooking, cut the eggplant into strips (if necessary) and reheat for a minute in the tomato sauce. Drain the pasta and toss it with the tomato sauce and the eggplant. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then top with the parsley or basil.