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Pasta Alla Norma. CI August 2009 recipe. An usual method for preparing the eggplant resulted in a

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Posted to Thread #15353 at 6:29 pm on Jul 1, 2009

delicious dish. The eggplant is firmer and more flavorful using this method.

* Exported for MasterCook 4 by Living Cookbook *

Pasta alla Norma with Olives & Capers

Recipe By : Cook's Illustrated Jul 2009

Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time:

1 large eggplant (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds), cut

-- into 1/2-inch cubes

kosher salt*

3 Tbs olive oil**

4 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic

-- press (about 4 teaspoons)

2 anchovy fillets, minced (about 1 generous teaspoon)

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes***

1 lb ziti , rigatoni, or penne

6 Tbs flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil**

1/2 cup kalamata olives, slivered

2 Tbs capers, drained and rinsed

3 oz ricotta salata , shredded (about 1 cup)****

1. Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Line surface of large

microwave-safe plate with double layer of coffee filters and lightly spray

with nonstick cooking spray. Spread eggplant in even layer over coffee

filters; wipe out and reserve bowl. Microwave eggplant on high power,

uncovered, until dry to touch and slightly shriveled, about 10 minutes,

tossing once halfway through to ensure that eggplant cooks evenly. Let cool


2. Transfer eggplant to now-empty bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil,

and toss gently to coat; discard coffee filters and reserve plate. Heat 1

tablespoon olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until

shimmering but not smoking. Add eggplant and distribute in even layer. Cook,

stirring or tossing every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes (more frequent stirring may

cause eggplant pieces to break apart), until well browned and fully tender,

about 10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer eggplant to

now-empty plate and set aside.

3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, anchovies, and pepper

flakes to now-empty but still-hot skillet and cook using residual heat so

garlic doesn't burn, stirring constantly, until fragrant and garlic becomes

pale golden, about 1 minute (if skillet is too cool to cook mixture, set it

over medium heat). Add tomatoes, return skillet to burner over medium-high

heat, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring

occasionally, until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add pasta and 2 tablespoons salt

and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain pasta and

transfer back to cooking pot.

5. While pasta is cooking, return eggplant to skillet with tomatoes and

gently stir to incorporate. Bring to simmer over medium heat and cook,

stirring gently occasionally, until eggplant is heated through and flavors

are blended, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, olives,

and capers into sauce; season to taste with salt. Add sauce to cooked pasta,

adjusting consistency with reserved pasta cooking water so that sauce coats

pasta. Serve immediately, sprinkled with ricotta salata.

Cooking Tip: *We prefer kosher salt in step 1 because it clings best to the

eggplant. If using table salt, reduce the amount to 1/2 teaspoon.

Cooking Tip: **We call for both regular and extra-virgin olive oil in this

recipe. The higher smoke point of regular olive oil makes it best for

browning the eggplant; extra-virgin olive oil stirred into the sauce before

serving lends fruity flavor. If you don't have regular olive oil, use

vegetable oil.

Cooking Tip: ***Our preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and

Muir Glen.

Cooking Tip: ****Ricotta salata, a firm, tangy Italian sheep's-milk cheese

that bears little resemblance to the moist ricotta sold in tubs, is an

essential component of traditional pasta alla Norma, but French feta,

Pecorino Romano, and Cotija (a firm, crumbly Mexican cheese) are acceptable


Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated Jul 2009

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