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Pasta alla Siciliana with Mozzarella & Eggplant

Pasta alla Siciliana with Mozzarella & Eggplant
Pasta alla Siciliana with Mozzarella & Eggplant

Pasta alla Siciliana with Mozzarella & Eggplant

Pasta alla Siciliana puts an Italian-American twist on Sicily's iconic Pasta alla Norma. Combining roasted eggplant, melty mozzarella, basil, and mint with pasta in a garlicky, plum tomato sauce, Pasta alla Siciliana is as flavorful as it is comforting.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds small to medium eggplant
  • cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds Barilla penne
  • 3 cups basic tomato sauce see recipe below
  • 1 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 1 ⁄2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 pound fresh Mozzarella di Bufala cut into
  • 1 ⁄4-inch cubes
  • 10 fresh basil leaves torn
  • An 8-ounce piece of Ricotta Salata for grating
  • Basic tomato sauce:
  • 1 ⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion chopped in 1⁄4-inch dice
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 ⁄2 medium carrot fi nely shredded
  • 2 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes,
  • crushed by hand and juices reserved
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • For the tomato sauce:
  • In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the
  • olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cook
  • until soft, and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until
  • the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and
  • bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer
  • for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with
  • salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator
  • or up to 6 months in the freezer.
  • For the pasta dish:
  • Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
  • Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons
  • of the olive oil over medium heat until almost smoking.
  • Working in batches, sauté the eggplant cubes, seasoning
  • them with salt and pepper, turning once, until golden
  • brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate lined with paper
  • towels to drain.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9- by
  • 12-inch baking dish with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Cook the penne in the boiling water until 2 minutes
  • short of the package instructions. Drain and shock the
  • pasta in ice water for 2 minutes. Drain the pasta very
  • well, place in a mixing bowl and toss with 1 cup of
  • tomato sauce.
  • Cover the bottom of the baking dish with 1⁄4 cup of
  • the tomato sauce. Top the tomato sauce with half the
  • breadcrumbs and then add half the cooked and sauced
  • pasta, then half of the eggplant cubes, arranged in a layer.
  • Dot about 1⁄4 cup of the tomato sauce over, and top with
  • half the grated Pecorino and half of the torn basil leaves.
  • Repeat the process with the pasta, then the eggplant, dot
  • with the remaining tomato sauce, then the cheese and
  • basil. Sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs, sprinkle
  • the Mozzarella cubes evenly and drizzle with the remaining
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before
  • serving. Place a generous portion on each plate, grate
  • Ricotta Salata over and serve.
Keyword Pasta, Siciliana, Mozzarella, Eggplant,

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