- 1 large eggplant or 2 small eggplants (about 1 pound total)
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt, divided
- A few twists of freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces of rigatoni pasta
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 ¾-ounce package of fresh basil leaves, torn (reserve a few for garnish)
- 1 28-ounce can of San Marzano peeled tomatoes
- Vegan ricotta, for serving (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 425F degrees.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel 1-inch strips of skin all the way around the eggplant, creating a stripe pattern.
Cut the eggplant into 1-inch chunks and divide them between two baking sheets (or one really large baking sheet). Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and toss immediately - eggplant is like a sponge and will soak up the oil quickly.
- Sprinkle the eggplant with 1 teaspoon of salt and a few twists of black pepper. Roast the eggplant for 35 to 40 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through. When done, the eggplant should be tender and caramelized.
- Meanwhile, start on the pasta and sauce. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the rigatoni and boil according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
- Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large, deep skillet over low heat. Add the garlic, the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, and red pepper flakes; sauté for 1 minute. Add the fresh basil leaves to the skillet and sauté until wilted, another minute.
- Add the San Marzano tomatoes to the skillet and use a wooden spatula to gently break up the tomatoes into large chunks.
- Add the roasted eggplant to the skillet and stir the ingredients together. Simmer the sauce over low heat while the pasta finishes cooking, 5 to 10 minutes.
- When done, transfer the cooked rigatoni to the skillet and stir to coat the pasta in the sauce. Remove from heat.
- Divide the Pasta alla Norma between plates and top with vegan ricotta (if using) and garnish with fresh basil.
Nutrition information does not include vegan ricotta.