Scott Conant’s Pasta alla Norma | Food Network

Scott demonstrates how to make a perfect with pasta, deep-fried , ricotta and tomatoes!
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Level: Easy
Overall: 45 minutes
Active: 30 min
Yield: 2 portions


Grease, for deep frying
1/2 large (about 8 ounces).
Kosher salt.
2 tablespoons olive oil.
8 ounces dried penne or tortiglioni pasta.
1 clove garlic, squashed.
Pinch dried oregano.
4 ounces strained tomatoes, such as Pomi.
5 to 10 fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for garnish.
1/4 cup grated Parmesan.
2 tablespoons saltless butter.
One 8-ounce block ricotta salata (see Cook's Note).

Bring a 2-quart pot of water to a boil. Heat 4 inches of grease in a Dutch oven over medium heat till it reaches 300 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. Line a plate with paper towels.

Using a peeler, peel the eggplant lengthwise skipping every other stripe so the eggplant looks like a zebra pattern. Dice the eggplant into 1-inch cubes, location in a strainer and gently sprinkle with salt. Let the water drain from the eggplant in the strainer to get rid of any bitterness, about 15 minutes. Discard the water and pat down the eggplant with paper towels.

Blanch the eggplant in the hot oil for 7 to 8 minutes (you only want the eggplant to get soft). Take the eggplant out of the oil to the prepared plate, and after that turn up the temperature to 350 degrees F.

Once the temperature reaches 360 degrees F, shut off the heat. Then include the eggplant and turn the heat back on (this will assist if the oil spills over a little bit). Deep fry the eggplant till deep golden brown in color, 2 to 3 minutes (the eggplant need to look a little wrinkly and have a firm texture on the outside and be soft and silky on the within). Place the eggplant on fresh paper towels to drain pipes the oil and put aside.

Add the olive oil to an 8-inch saute pan over medium-low heat. Season the pasta water with salt, position the pasta in the boiling water and prepare it 75 percent of the way (about 12 minutes).

Once the oil is warm, include the garlic and instill the oil, about 2 minutes (the garlic need to not sizzle or brown). Add the dried oregano, cook 1 more minute, and after that include the tomato sauce and 1/4 cup pasta water. Minimize while the pasta finishes cooking. If it gets too dry, add more pasta water. Remove the garlic and include a pinch of salt and the torn basil.

Transfer the pasta to the tomato sauce together with some of the pasta cooking water (1/3 to 1/2 cup). Include the fried eggplant to the pan and toss to combine. Switch off the heat and include the Parmesan; toss again. End up with the butter and toss a final time.

Place the pasta into plates and grate the ricotta salata with a large grater over top. Leading with a basil leaf or more and serve right away.

Cook's Note.

I like to bake my ricotta to dry it out and give it some color, so I brush it with some olive oil and bake it in a 325 degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

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Scott Conant's Pasta alla Norma | Food Network

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About the Author: Yvette Cook


  1. This guy is brilliant! I made something like this in the past. Funny how minds can think alike.

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