This is and isn’t “Pasta alla Norma”. It does feature eggplant but I definitely did not stand over the stove and fry eggplant—I took a major shortcut here and bought(!) some eggplant slices preserved in oil. So maybe it’s more like “pasta with eggplant” or a weeknight version of Pasta alla Norma? You will love it, promise, whether you call her Norma or not.
Pasta alla Norma (sort of)
The sauce goes quickly so once your ingredients are fully prepped, you can add your dried pasta to a large pot of boiling salted water. If you’re using fresh pasta, add your pasta to the water when your sauce is almost done.
500g bucatini or other wide pasta noodle
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
4 cl garlic, sliced
2 fresh red chilies, destemmed and sliced (or less), or as much crushed chili as you’d like
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2tbs each minced fresh basil and parsley leaves, plus a few whole leaves, reserved
1 c (packed) chopped eggplant in oil (6 large slices)
1/4 c toasted sliced almonds
Add garlic, chilies and salt to the oil in a large, high-sided saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once the garlic has started to turn golden and the chilies have softened (about 3 minutes), add the minced herbs, stir and turn off the heat. Add just-cooked al dente pasta and stir well to coat each strand in oil. Turn out to a serving platter and sprinkle the eggplant and almonds over top. Grate a very healthy amount of ricotta salata over top and garnish with reserved whole herb leaves.