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Eggplant Pasta à la Norma

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

An Italian friend taught me how to make pasta à la Norma from the eggplants I harvested from my own garden.

My komvandaan might be a bit different to that of most other people. I was born in Joburg, and when my parents emigrated to the USA, I was just a few months old – there I was “babysat” for four years by a wonderful Italian family. I grew up to love all foods…

I have a German father, an Afrikaans mother, a Parisian godmother, and I love “American”. I salivate equally at the idea of bobotie or bratkartoffeln and – forgive me – even a MacD.

Italian, however, is my go-to; my place of comfort. And I am a purist, so only sauce made from scratch and the best Italian pasta you can afford is good enough. I am still discovering great Italian dishes – one of the most recent favourites being pasta à la Norma, which an Italian friend taught me how to make from the eggplants I harvested from my own garden.

Eggplant Pasta à la Norma

Carola Koblitz

1. Cut eggplant into about 5 cm x 1 cm cubes and fry in quality olive oil until they just start to brown and become crispy. (One medium-sized eggplant is fine for two people, but you may have to fry it in batches to get it crispy). Allow the cubes to drain on paper towels and treat them to a good sprinkling of coarse salt.

2. When your eggplant is done, use some of the oil in another pot to fry three cloves of garlic, and then add the content of two tins of quality tomatoes (one tin per person). Cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes break up nicely. Then add the eggplant and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste, but keep it simple (my firm favourites are just origanum and a few chilli flakes).

3. In the meantime, boil water (lots, and well salted; it should taste like sea water!) to cook fat, luscious rigatoni pasta. Use some of the leftover oil in the pan to cover your drained pasta when done, and keep some of the pasta water aside.

4. Grate about 50 g pecorino cheese. Just before serving, add half of the cheese to your sauce, along with your pasta (and use some of the pasta water if it seems too dry). Stir and mix well. If you have some fresh basil, add it in at the end as well, and let it rest for a few minutes.

Serve in bowls and add the rest of the pecorino on top.

Mamma mia, ek sê!


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