A traditional Sicilian pasta dish featuring crispy eggplant with a vegan twist!
1lb DaVinci Spaghetti
4 small eggplant, about 1.5 lbs
2.5 lbs fresh tomatoes, or two 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
2 cloves garlic
splash of wine (optional)
ricotta salata or almond ricotta
Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil to cook spaghetti.
Prepare Sauce: Rough chop 1 shallot and mince 2 coves of garlic. Remove stem from tomatoes and chop them into 1/2” sized chunks. Heat a large deep-sided skillet on medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil to hot pan. Sauté shallot until it starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and black pepper and stir until garlic just starts to brown. Deglaze pan with a splash of wine. Add tomatoes, salt and sugar and cook on medium heat until the sauce comes together and reduces a bit, about 10-15 minutes.
While sauce is cooking prepare and cook the eggplant. Turn oven on broil. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Remove stems from eggplant and cut into quarters lengthwise. Slice each quarter section into 1/4” thick slices. Add eggplant pieces to a bowl and toss with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper until evenly coated. Spread eggplant out into one layer on the baking sheet. Broil until tops are browned then flip with a spatula and brown the other side. Depending on your oven this could take 5 minutes or 15 minutes. When both sides of eggplant are browned remove from oven and set aside until sauce is ready.
Once water as come to boil, add the spaghetti and reduce cooking time for al dente doneness by 1 minute according to the package instructions. Scoop spaghetti out of water using a pasta grabber or tongs and add directly to sauce and reduce heat to low. Or you can strain spaghetti in a colander, but first reserve some pasta water to loosen sauce if necessary. Add eggplant to the pan with sauce and spaghetti and toss everything together with tongs over low heat cooking for about 1 minute until pasta is al dente. Use a little pasta water to loosen sauce if needed. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil leaves.
Serve immediately in bowls with more fresh basil, drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and top with grated ricotta salata, or dollops of almond ricotta for a vegan alternative. See recipe for almond ricotta below.
Store leftovers in a covered container, refrigerated for up to 1 week. Reheat to serve.
Recipe by Fare Isle at https://fareisle.com/vegan-pasta-alla-norma-eggplant/