Pasta Alla Norma

A bowl of Pasta Alla Norma

Pasta Alla Norma is a classic Italian pasta recipe, and except for the glossy purple eggplant, this easy 30 minute meatless meal is made entirely from pantry staples.

A bowl of Pasta Alla Norma with napkin and glass of wine

Of course, in summer, so there’s nothing stopping you from making this with fresh ripe tomatoes, but during the rest of the year I use a good quality canned. I love the combination of pasta and eggplant. You hardly ever see this dish on menus, but it’s fantastic. Especially when you cook the eggplant the way I do…without any oil! I saute it in a hot dry skillet, which intensifies the flavor and keeps the eggplant firm.

Pasta Alla Norma 2

This is a 30-minute meal that doesn’t taste like one. It’s also a great vegetarian option if you are looking for meatless meals to please meat lovers…eggplants are a little bit like mushrooms in that they have a ‘meaty’ texture and earthy flavor that gives a heartiness to meatless dishes. I highly recommend it.

Pasta alla Norma in the pan

Since most of us usually have pasta in our cupboards, it pays to have a handful of easy recipes to turn to on busy nights. Here at tvfgi I’ve got lots of other quick pasta ideas for you, here are a few of my faves ~

A bowl of Pasta Alla Norma


A bowl of Pasta Alla Norma
5 from 3 votes

Pasta Alla Norma

Pasta Alla Norma is a classic Italian pasta recipe, and except for the glossy purple eggplant, this easy 30 minute meatless meal is made entirely from pantry staples.
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 3/4 lb fusilli corkscrew pasta
  • 1 large eggplant
  • olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 15 oz can of good quality chopped tomatoes I like to use fire roasted
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or water
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper


  • freshly grated Italian hard cheese Parmesan, Romano, etc
  • lots of fresh parsley or basil


  • Cook the pasta in well salted water according to the package instructions.
  • Wash and slice the eggplant into small cubes. Heat a skillet over medium heat until it is hot and add the eggplant, dry, to the pan. I like to saute eggplant this way because it intensifies the flavor and the eggplant doesn't get soggy from absorbing too much oil. Keep the eggplant moving while you saute so it doesn't stick to the pan. When it has taken on some color is and beginning to soften, remove it to a plate.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the same pan and saute the onions, red pepper flakes, and garlic for several minutes until the onion starts to soften.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, and vinegar to the pan, along with the eggplant and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer.
  • Season the sauce with salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
  • Toss with the just cooked pasta and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Serve hot, topped with lots of freshly grated cheese and a generous sprinkling of parsley.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


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  • Reply
    Ruth Justice
    September 24, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Thank you for this beautiful eggplant dish. Eggplant is one of my favorite foods, but very few recipes to cook it in.
    Do you have anymore recipes like this? Love to see them.

    • Reply
      September 24, 2018 at 11:07 am

      Go to the PASTA section of my recipe index, Ruth, there are lots of great ideas there.

  • Reply
    July 25, 2015 at 7:08 am

    5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe!
    I’ve added it to the Farm Fresh Feasts Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me who love to eat from the farm share.
    I appreciate your help in making this index better!

    • Reply
      July 25, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      Thanks so much Kirsten, love your site!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 27, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    This pasta dish looks fabulous! Such a great meatless option! 🙂

  • Reply
    August 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Love the eggplant method too, but what I really love is the new photo of you! Just noticed it. Nice photo.

    • Reply
      August 18, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Thanks Kate!

  • Reply
    August 16, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    It looks amazing 🙂 Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Reply
    August 16, 2014 at 9:32 am

    this is my all time favourite pasta dish, i order it whenever i see it on a menu and make it often at home…but i am going to try your dry fry trick! yum yum schlurrrrp

    • Reply
      August 16, 2014 at 9:50 am


  • Reply
    August 16, 2014 at 5:40 am

    so gorgeous!… I love aubergine, so this would be a wonderful dish for me… I also love fusili and you don’t se it very much these days… do pasta shapes go out of fashion?

  • Reply
    August 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Another blogger friend just posted a slighty different take on this recipe – and both of yours look amazing! I am taking it as a sign I should make it!

    • Reply
      August 15, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Yay, Pasta Norma is coming out from retirement!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    August 15, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I love Pasta alla Norma! Great tip on sautéing the eggplant too!

  • Reply
    August 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    I am so glad you posted this, Sue! I have some baby eggplants (Little Fingers variety) that I didn’t know what to do with – too small for almost anything else. They will be perfect in a dish like this. I like you no oil saute method too.

  • Reply
    August 15, 2014 at 11:06 am

    A delightful and healthy meal. Blessings, Catherine

  • Reply
    August 15, 2014 at 10:00 am

    What a great dish Sue, love how you treated the eggplant here.

    • Reply
      August 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

      The dry saute method is really great, Cheri, I use it almost all the time now.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    August 15, 2014 at 9:08 am

    I miss pasta – we never eat it anymore but it is sooooo good. This is a lovely dish, especially love the interesting way to saute the eggplant. The fresh herbs are perfect! Have a great weekend Sue and by the way, love, love, love your new photo 🙂 Linked to your amazing popsicles in my post yesterday!

  • Reply
    August 15, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I will love this..I made one years ago..never looked this delicious.
    The weather has been cooler the last 3 days..we had pastat last night w/ a bolognese instead of fresh tomatoes etc..

    This is on my list.Thanks!

    • Reply
      August 15, 2014 at 8:58 am

      I’m guessing a lot of readers will never have had this dish, I’m glad you’re familiar with it. And as for the Bolognese replacing fresh tomatoes…that’s a sure sign of a change of season!

  • Reply
    August 15, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Beautiful, colorful – delicious!

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