Pasta alla Norma

1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, lightly packed
1 large unpeeled eggplant, cut in 1-inch cubes
juice of 1 lemon
1 pound mini rigatoni salad pasta, cooked
5 ounces ricotta salata cheese, finely shredded
1 jar (26 ounces) tomato basil pasta sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Sprinkle cubed eggplant with 1-1/2 tablespoons salt. Cover with water; let stand for 5 min. Drain and pat dry.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on Medium-High. Add eggplant; cook 6-8 min. Remove eggplant to plate and discard oil in skillet.

Reduce heat to LOW. Heat sauce in skillet, about 1 min.

Add cooked pasta, eggplant, basil and cheese to sauce. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Squeeze lemon juice on top, toss and serve.

Optional: To spice it up, add 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste.

This recipe serves 6

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