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I've read lots of things about where this dish got it's name, but there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer. Some theories are that it simply means 'normal', and some that it was named after a heroine in an opera. I like to think there was a little Sicilian lady named Norma who dreamed this up. The traditional version uses ricotta, and there are lots of versions with parmesan or pecorino. You can of course top with whatever you like, or enjoy as-is which is simple, fresh and delicious. There are so many versions of how to make this dish, Rachel Ray has a version where the eggplant, tomatoes & garlic are roasted first, some pan fry the eggplant first. This is a method I find a little less time consuming and do-able for a weeknight meal. You could also use tinned tomatoes if need be, probably 2 of the large 28oz tins.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 eggplants, sliced (you can peel if you like, personally I like the skin)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 10 tomatoes, diced (you can peel and de-seed if you like)
- 1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- fresh basil
- 375 g wholewheat penne pasta (that's 1 regular box for me)
- Using a heavy bottomed pot or large sautee pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once warm, add the onions and salt, let them cook over medium low heat until nicely browned. Stir often to prevent burning.
- Cut the eggplants into about 1/2 inch slices. Place them in a colander, sprinkling each piece with salt. Put a plate on top and some kind of weight to press the plate down (a tin of beans works well). Leave that to sit for about 15 minutes.
- While you wait, cut up your tomatoes.
- Back to the onions, add in the garlic now and let that cook for a few minutes. Then add in the diced tomatoes and salt.
- Pat your eggplant slices dry, dice them up and add to the sauce. Leave the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes,
- While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta al dente. Drain, then add into the sauce along with some fresh chopped basil. Mix well but gently and serve with some fresh basil sprinkled on top.
This was a huge hit! So simple to make, everybody loved it, even skeptical dh. And there are NO leftovers! Finished the sauce w/1 lb of short rigatoni things. Thanks! Made for Veggie Swap 3/12.
This was super yummy. Instead of fresh tomatoes, I used canned roast garlic flavor tomatoes which I pureed - they were quite weird tasting, so I ended up throwing in extra tomato paste and tomatoes to tame the yucky roast garlic flavors (all my bad - just making sure no one else makes the same mistake as I did). This made quite a bit, so we ate it on spaghetti one night and then I was able to freeze two other containers for a super fast week night meal at a later date. Thanks for posting. I am a huge eggplant fan so this is a real treat.