Summer Pasta a la Norma
- 1 pound whole wheat penne
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 large or 2 small eggplants, peeled and diced
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- Ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
- 12-15 leaves basil, shredded
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta
Place a large pot of water over high heat to cook the pasta. When the water is boiling, add some salt and drop the pasta. Cook to al dente according to package directions. Just before draining, reserve a mug of starchy cooking water (about 1/2 cup). Drain the pasta and reserve.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 3 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 3 tablespoons. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic to the pan. Give everything a toss to coat with oil then cover the pan. Cook the veggies, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5-6 minutes.
Add the grape tomatoes to the pan, replace the lid and continue cooking until the tomatoes burst, about 5 minutes more (mash them up with a wooden spoon or potato masher if they don’t burst after that time). Season the veggies with salt and pepper.
Combine the cooked veggies with most of the mint and basil (saving a little for garnish), all of the shredded cheese, the reserved pasta and starchy cooking water, and toss well. Garnish with a sprinkle of herbs and dollop of ricotta on each portion.