This recipe riffs on the Sicilian dish Pasta Alla Norma, which capitalizes on the abundance of late-harvest eggplant and tomatoes. Our version brings Beef Ravioli into the mix for a hearty meal that’s seasonal and satisfying.
1 ½ pounds Japanese eggplant (about 4-5)
¼ cup olive oil, divided
28oz can whole peeled tomatoes, San Marzano if possible
¼ cup water
½ large yellow onion, diced
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Armanino Creamy Garlic Sauce
kosher salt and ground black pepper
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley, divided
1 pound Armanino Beef Ravioli
½ cup grated ricotta salata
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut the eggplant into ¾” rounds then cut in half.
Toss the eggplant with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a good pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan.
Roast for about 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through until tender and golden brown.
Meanwhile, put a large pot of water to boil for the ravioli.
In a separate saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high.
Sauté the onion with a pinch of salt until soft, translucent and lightly golden, about 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Crush the tomatoes by hand into the saucepan (or cut with scissors in the can – see tips below) and stir in the water, oregano, crushed red pepper and creamy garlic sauce along with a good pinch each of salt and pepper.
Turn the heat back to high; once it reaches a boil reduce to low and simmer uncovered until saucy but not too dry, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Stir in half the parsley and set aside. The sauce can be made several days ahead and refrigerated.
Cook the ravioli for 4-5 minutes in the boiling water until tender. Drain and toss with a little of the tomato sauce. Divide between four plates.
Gently stir the roasted eggplant into the remaining tomato sauce and top each plate with more eggplant/sauce. Garnish with the remaining parsley and grated ricotta salata. Serve hot.
Japanese eggplants are long and narrow, meatier and have less seeds making them ideal for this type of sauce. Look for nice, firm eggplants with smooth skins.
Roasting the eggplant separately uses less oil than sautéing and helps the pieces retain their shape.
Crushing tomatoes into a pot by hand is satisfying if a bit messy. Alternatively, insert a pair of kitchen scissors directly into the can and cut/chop tomatoes into smaller pieces.
Ricotta salata is an Italian cheese with a crumbly texture made by salting, aging, and compressing fresh ricotta cheese. Sometimes known as “Italian feta”, it’s a semi-firm cheese that and can be sliced, grated, or crumbled. Find it in nicer grocery stores that have a good cheese selection. If unable to fine, use freshly shredded pecorino romano.