Pasta with eggplant is also known as Pasta alla Norma. It’s an iconic Sicilian dish made with tomatoes, fried eggplant, grated ricotta salata cheese and basil. The eggplant is soft and tender, the sauce is creamy and indulgent and the whole dish tastes fresh and satisfying. It doesn’t take long to make and it’s a definite crowd-pleaser.
1 lb penne pasta
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion diced
4 garlic cloves minced
4-6 Japanese eggplants diced
2 C diced tomatoes
½ cup non-dairy cream
½ cup fresh sliced basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup vegan mozzarella
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add salt to the water and cook 1 lb. penne according to the package directions until it is al dente.
In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add 1 diced onion and 4 minced garlic cloves and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
Add 4-6 diced Japanese eggplants.
Toss to coat the eggplant in the garlic oil. Cook until the eggplant is soft, about 10 minutes.
Remove ½ the eggplant mixture and reserve in a bowl.
Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Add 2 cups diced tomatoes to the skillet.
Stir in ½ cup non-dairy cream.
Add ¼ cup fresh sliced basil, reserving the rest, and 1 tsp. dried thyme.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Let simmer for about 4 minutes.
When the penne is done, drain it but reserve about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Add this water to your sauce so it thickens from the starch. Then add the pasta to the skillet (or if your skillet is too small, add the sauce to the pasta pot).
Toss to coat the penne with sauce for about 1 minute. This will allow the flavors to thoroughly coat the pasta.
Add in the reserved eggplant.
Mix in ½ cup vegan mozzarella, either in shreds or small chunks. The heat will melt the cheese. Turn off the heat. Add in another ¼ cup sliced basil.
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve while hot.