Rigatoni alla Norma

Sicilian Eggplant Pasta From Catania

Simple, tasty, and one of our most requested pastas. We prefer to make this with the sweeter Japanese eggplant, but it could be made with globe eggplant too. This pasta is named after Bellini’s opera, Norma, and is she popular! Bellini was born in Catania. A case of local boy making good and the local opera heroine honored with a pasta named after her.


  • Salt
  • 4 Japanese eggplants or 1 medium globe eggplant
  • ½ cup (or as needed) olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 6 large black olives, pitted and-quartered
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
  • cups Tomato Sauce
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ½ pound rigatoni
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling.

Slice the Japanese eggplants crosswise into ¼-inch slices. If you are using globe eggplant, peel and cut into 1-inch or slightly larger cubes.

Heat the olive oil in a very large skillet or 2 large skillets over high heat. Add the eggplants and sauté quickly on both sides so that the pieces brown but don’t steam. Use more oil if needed. Add the garlic, olives, most of the basil, and the tomato sauce. Heat the sauce through and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain and transfer to a pasta bowl. Add the eggplant sauce and quickly toss to combine. Sprinkle with the remaining basil and the Parmesan. Serve hot.