This is my version of pasta alla Norma and it’s a delicious sauce rich in flavour and texture and perfect with rotini as the sauce gets into all the grooves of the pasta. Pasta alla Norma is one of the most well known Italian pasta dishes and it’s typical of Sicilian cuisine. The original recipe is made with macaroni, tomatoes, fried eggplant, grated ricotta salata cheese, and basil. My version is quite similar, just lightened up with less oil and no cheeses involved, keeping it vegan. Feel free to add cheese if you would like to though. I also added a little more body to the sauce by adding mushrooms to it. This not only beefed it up a bit but added even more texture and flavour. Our family loves both eggplant and mushrooms, so this was a hit in our home along with the pasta that I used in this dish.
More about that pasta. This is my third collaborative recipe with GoGo Quinoa for the season and I was quite excited about this one. This one is for their Lentil & Quinoa Rotini. As many of you already know I pretty much only eat gluten free pasta. If I’m out or if I’m invited to someone’s home I can tolerate regular pasta but if I can avoid it I will. I’m not celiac or intolerant to gluten, I just find I do a lot better without it. I am especially affected by pasta – bread a lot less. That being said I have tried my fair share of gluten free pasta and GoGo Quinoa is one of my favourites when it comes to gluten free. I was very excited to find out I would be creating a recipe for their Lentil & Quinoa Rotini as I had not tried it yet and I was excited too.
I love it. I love the texture with that nice al dente bite, and the flavour which was quite subtle. That isn’t the case of all quinoa pastas – just ask my husband. My whole family really enjoyed it. I also appreciated how nutrient dense this pasta is as well. Its not just empty calories or carbs like say a rice pasta could be, but being that its made from nutritious red lentils and quinoa, its full of protein, its delicious and will complement any of your favourite pasta recipes.
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Yellow onion, diced
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp Capers
- a 10 oz Package Cremini mushrooms, finely diced
- 1 large size Eggplant, diced small (peeled or unpeeled according to preference)
- 1½ tsp Sea Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- 2 tbsps Tomato Paste
- 1 tsp Dried oregano
- 1 Bay leaf
- ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- ½ cup Red Wine
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- a 28 ounce can San Marzano Tomatoes, including their juices
- 340 grams of GoGo Quinoa Lentil & Quinoa Rotini Pasta
- ½ cup Pasta Cooking Liquid
- Fresh Parsley or Basil for garnish
- Slice the eggplant in half and cut away the fluffy seedy center.
- Dice the eggplant into approximately 2 cm chunks.
- Place into a colander in the sink or over a bowl, sprinkle with sea salt to draw out the moisture, then set aside for approximately 20 minutes.
- Rinse the aubergine and pat dry with kitchen paper, then place into a large bowl with the oregano, chilli flakes, 1 tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Toss together well.
- Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil into a large frying pan over a medium heat.
- Once hot, add the eggplant and the mushrooms in a single layer and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until softened and golden, stirring occasionally – you may need to do this in two batches.
- Add the remaining tbsp of olive oil, followed by the onion, capers and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper remembering that the capers will add some saltiness as well.
- Add the tomato paste and stir cooking for one minute.
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine; cook until most of the wine has been absorbed.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and tomatoes. Use the back of a spoon the break apart the tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low.
- Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Salt the water and cook the pasta according to package direction.
- Before draining the pasta, reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Set aside.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the tomato sauce. Pour in the reserved cooking liquid. Gently toss to combine.
- Check for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed and serve with fresh herbs.