Nothing says summer like a long, languorous afternoon spent soaking up the sunshine on the enchanting island of Sicily. This southern Italian paradise is not only known for its breathtaking beaches and the stunning vistas of Mount Etna, but also for its wonderful gastronomic heritage. One of our favourite dishes of Sicilian origin is the classic alla norma, a delicious vegetarian, aubergine-based sauce that pairs perfectly with rigatoni, a tubular pasta variety that also hails from Sicily.
Make our Tasty Rigatoni alla Norma
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Calories per serving: 546kcal
- 350g rigatoni (or any short pasta)
- 200g fresh San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 large aubergine, roughly chopped into small cubes
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 large glass red wine (about 175ml)
- 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 10g fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh basil leaves, to garnish
- Shavings of ricotta salata or Parmesan cheese to finish
- Place your aubergine cubes on a plate or tray, and sprinkle generously with salt. Leave to one side for about 15 minutes, so that the salt draws out the moisture.
- In a large pan heat 1tbsp olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and fry until they begin to soften. Add the crushed garlic and continue to sauté for a few more minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
- Remove this mixture from the pan and set aside for now. Add 2tbsp oil to the pan and as the oil heats, pat the aubergine dry with kitchen towel before transferring the cubes to the pan. Cook the aubergine until golden, for around 5 minutes.
- Once all the aubergine is cooked, add the onion, garlic and carrots back to the pan along with your wine and the fresh and tinned tomatoes. Add a splash of water to loosen the sauce if necessary.
- Add in 1tsp sugar along with the torn basil leaves and oregano. Stir thoroughly to combine and allow the mixture to simmer for around 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened, and the aubergine is soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- About 10 minutes prior to serving, bring a large pot of generously salted water to the boil. Add your rigatoni and cook according to packet instructions, or for a minute less than advised if you prefer your pasta al dente.
- Drain the pasta, ensuring to reserve a little of the starchy pasta water. Transfer your pasta to the pan of sauce, along with a little splash of the starchy water. Toss until the pasta is well coated.
- Sprinkle over your Italian cheese and a few basil leaves and serve immediately. Buon appetito!
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