Sicilian Eggplant & Ricotta Pasta Recipe

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12 votes | 8233 views

This is yet another wonderful Italian recipe that I've adapted from Marcella Hazan's classic "Essentials of Italian Cooking". This one is good enough that my wife put a little smily face in the upper corner of the recipe and wrote "It's a keeper!". I think you'll feel the same way. We served this for friends with a wonderful citrus and avocado salas on the side and some crusty Italian bread. Fantastico!

Prep time:
Cook time:
Servings: 4-6


Cost per serving $1.98 view details
  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant (we usually use asian eggplant, but any eggplant will do)
  • Salt
  • About 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 cups fresh, ripe Italian plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and cut in narrow strips (or use canned italian tomatoes and chop)
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp freshly grated romano cheese
  • 3 Tbsp fresh ricotta
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds pasta (rotini is our favorite, or try ruote di carro, fusilli, rigatoni -- or even spaghetti)
  • Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for the table


  1. Cut off the eggplant cap, peel it (leaving some skin if you like), and cut into 1 inch cubes. Put the cubes in a colander in the sink and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let the eggplant steep in the salt for 30-60 minutes to reduce the bitterness. (This can be 15-20 minutes if you use asian eggplant).
  2. Dry the eggplant by placing on paper towels and patting down with another paper towel from the top. In a large frying pan, add enough olive oil to just coat the bottom of the pan and heat to medium high. When the oil is hot, put in as many eggplant pieces as you can without packing them too tightly. Fry them for a minute or so and then turn them over. Fry on 3-4 sides and then transfer with a slotted spoon or spatula to a plate with paper towels. Continue with another batch if needed until all the eggplant is cooked.
  3. Put a pasta pot on the stove, bring to boil, and add and cook whichever pasta you choose according to the directions. The pasta will be cooking while you finish the sauce.
  4. Add the remaining olive oil (more if needed). Add the sliced onion and saute until it turns a light gold (about 3 minutes) then add the chopped garlic and cook for only 30 seconds, stirring as you cook. Add the tomato, turn up the heat to high, and cook for 8-10 minutes stirring frequently until the oil floats free from the tomato.
  5. Add the eggplant and a few grindings of fresh pepper, stir, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for another couple of minutes, stirring. Taste and add kosher salt if needed.
  6. Drain the pasta in a colander, pour into a large serving bowl (or back in the pasta pot if you plan to serve from that), add the eggplant sauce, the grated romano, the ricotta, and the basil leaves (torn into pieces as you drop them into the bowl). Toss again, mixing the ingredients thoroughly, and serve at once with grated pamesan and crusty Italian bread on the side.
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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 334g
Recipe makes 4 servings
Calories 786  
Calories from Fat 217 28%
Total Fat 24.62g 31%
Saturated Fat 5.59g 22%
Trans Fat 0.0g  
Cholesterol 16mg 5%
Sodium 157mg 7%
Potassium 681mg 19%
Total Carbs 116.1g 31%
Dietary Fiber 9.5g 32%
Sugars 7.7g 5%
Protein 24.93g 40%



  • Patricia Turo
    September 10, 2010
    No question where I'm going with this recipe, right to the kitchen. Ricotta goes so well with so many things and I love it with pasta. Got an eggplant, now all I need is the Ricotta.
    I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
    • Paola Polati
      September 10, 2010
      Ciao John,
      this pasta is Great! It is one of my favourite! In Italy we call it "Pasta alla Norma".
      You proposed a variation with more kind of cheese in your recipe, I reccomend to use only Ricotta salata (with parmesan is too much) that maybe is your romano cheese. Ciao Paola
      I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
      This is a variation
      • Foodessa
        September 10, 2010
        John...this pasta is exactly the type of dish I crave...especially with my very favourite eggplant.
        It's unfortunate that we have such a difficult time getting our hands on it for more than a 2 week period.
        I'm bookmarking your recipe to use with other varieties ;o)

        Flavourful wishes,
        • Pattie Meegan
          September 10, 2010
          John, I agree- this is a keeper! My Nonna made something very similar- she loved to toss ricotta into pasta! And who doesn't love a dish that can be prepared so quickly?!
          xoxo Pattie
          I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
          • Stacey Maupin Torres
            September 10, 2010
            Oh, boy - we have a rainy weekend coming up! This sounds delicious!!!!
            • Linda Hanson
              September 13, 2010
              This was super delicious! I love anything with eggplant and am planning on making this a staple!
              I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
              • O.S.
                September 13, 2010
                That sounds and looks pretty cool!
                I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
                • Nancy Miyasaki
                  September 14, 2010
                  This is one of my family's favorite dishes. Simple and very flavorful!
                  I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
                  • Aspen Lee-Moulden
                    September 15, 2010
                    I made a similar recipe last night (modification were: minus the onion and ricotta, used 3 cloves garlic and two 14 oz cans of Italian/Pompei plum tomatoes w/ juices). It was delicious! I have a picky eater who won't touch her pasta if the sauce is lumpy at all so before serving I put it in the blender. It was still amazing! The eggplant gives the sauce such a rich flavor.
                    I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
                    This is a variation


                    • Dana Salvo
                      March 5, 2011
                      What's not to love about this dish! Eggplant and Ricotta, perfect.
                      • Camille
                        September 14, 2010
                        I am going to love this recipe once I try it. Eggplant dishes are so amazingly tasty!
                        • Kathleen
                          September 10, 2010
                          This looks totally delicious. I can't wait to try it!!!
                          • Joanne
                            September 10, 2010
                            Geesh! That's just not fair to my waistline! It looks and sounds so good :)

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