Plates of rigatoni with tomatoes, eggplant and dollops of ricotta surrounded by rose wine.
Photography & Art Direction: Anthony Contrino – Food Styling: Molly Wenk

This simple, rustic Sicilian pasta dish is a family favorite. As with most recipes there’s the debate as to what’s truly authentic.  Most often you’ll see larger sized pieces of eggplant topped with the tomato and pasta mixture, but I prefer to cut the eggplant so that it’s about the same size as the tomatoes.  (After all, you want all those yummy bits to get trapped in the holes of the rigatoni!)  I also prefer to top my Norma with some ricotta, swirling it into the sauce to add some creaminess, but feel free to swap it out with ricotta salata, which is traditionally used – or better yet, use both!

Pasta alla Norma

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 Italian eggplants, 1 ½ pounds, cut into ¾” cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 10-ounce containers cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, rough chopped
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the rigatoni in the boiling water according to the package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  • Meanwhile, in a very large high-sided skillet, warm ¼ cup of the olive oil over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer.
  • Add ⅓ of the eggplant and a very generous pinch of salt and sauté, stirring or tossing often, until fork tender and lightly browned on all sides, about 6 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant to a bowl; repeat twice more with the remaining oil and eggplant.
  • Add the tomatoes and a very generous pinch of salt and sauté until jammy, for 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and sauté an additional minute.
  • Add the pasta, eggplant and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water and toss to coat, adding more pasta water, as needed, to create a velvety sauce. Season with salt, to taste.
  • Serve immediately with a generous dollop of ricotta cheese.
Course: Pasta
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino