In honor of Stanley Tucci’s television travel series Searching for Italy, we’ve created four pasta dishes for TABLE readers. This week we bring you Stanley Tucci Inspired Pasta alla Norma. This dish incorporates lightly fried eggplant, which adds a wonderful texture to the rigatoni pasta and a very simple red sauce. We recommend a Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a dry Sicilian red, or a fruit-forward Etna Rosso.
1 large eggplant
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small bunch basil, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup grated ricotta salata
1 pound dry rigatoni pasta
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan for serving
Prepare eggplant by washing and slicing into cubes. Salt eggplant and place in a bowl. Let sit at room temperature for two hours. Rinse away the salt. Pat dry. Add to pan with olive oil. Saute until golden brown. Remove from pan. Set aside.
In the same pan, add olive oil, garlic, tomato, and oregano. Add half of the basil once the sauce thickens over medium heat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook penne al dente.
Mix eggplant pieces into sauce. Simmer over low heat. Stir in ricotta and remaining basil. Add penne from its boiling water. Add a touch of salted water. Mix gently. Serve warm. Add grated parmesan for serving and enjoy your Stanley Tucci Inspired Pasta alla Norma.
Story by Gabe Gomez / Prop styling by Keith Recker/ Photography by Dave Bryce/ Food styling by Veda Sankaran/ Fabric by @foundandforagedfibres / Wine pairing by Adam Knoerzer