800g eggplant, cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves , finely minced
1/2 an onion , finely chopped (or 2 shallots)
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional – for a hint of heat)
1/4 cup dry white wine
700g tinned tomatoes or tomato passata
1/4 cup water
Basil and parsley if you’ve got some handy – dried herbs work as well, just be careful you don’t overdo it, add a bit, taste and repeat until you get exactly to the flavour you desire.
2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
3 slices of bread torn into small breadcrumbs – erring on stale works well here
Pasta alla Norma
Summer is just around the bend, and with that in mind, we’ve whipped out an Italian classic, Pasta alla Norma. In this version, we roast the eggplant, which saves you the faff of frying it – thanks to Shell for this top tip! The whole thing comes together reasonably quickly and is very yummy as leftovers. The breadcrumb topping is non-essential until you try it and realise it’s absolutely essential.
Roast the eggplant
Preheat oven to 240°C. Line a tray with baking paper.
Toss eggplant with oil, salt and pepper. Spread on the tray and roast for 20 minutes.
Toss again, then roast for a further 5 minutes. Cool on tray (this helps the eggplant hold its shape).
Fry the bread crumbs
Heat oil in medium frypan over a medium heat, once warm add chilli flakes (if using) and allow to fry for 30 seconds. Add in the bread crumbs and fry, tossing occasionally for 5-10 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and crunchy!
Prepare the sauce
Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until translucent and cooked through, add garlic and chilli flakes and continue to cook for 20 seconds until golden and fragrant.
Increase heat to medium-high and add wine, if using. Let it simmer, scraping the base of the pan to deglaze, until the wine mostly evaporates.
Add tinned tomatoes or passata. Now pour the water into the can or passata bottle, screw on the lid, shake, and pour that in too (waste nothing!)
Season, stir and let simmer 5 minutes.
Cook the pasta and reserve 1/2 a cup of the cooking liquid.
Gently stir the eggplant and herbs into the sauce, then add cooked pasta and the reserved pasta water*. Continue to stir (gently) until the pasta is coated.
*you may not need the full half cup, it’s just to loosen the the sauce so you don’t end up with gluggy pasta!
Serve immediately, with breadcrumbs and parmesan on top.
Hints and Tips
If you wanted to make this meal super speedy, toss the roasted eggplant through Lello’s tomato and basil sugo, top with the breadcrumbs and voila!
I find that if I fry the garlic first and then add onion, the garlic burns, so I tend to reverse the order suggested above.
Fleur, you’re so right, it’s a real game of nurturing to ensure the garlic doesn’t burn and become bitter. We love this idea of switching up the order, we’ll incorporate that step now. Thanks!
Delicious and so true about the bread crumbs. Sauce freezes well too.
Ah that’s great to know, we’ll have to make a batch while the eggplants are abundant!