Pasta alla Norma with Olives and Capers

Published July 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

Why this recipe works:

To create a bold, complex Pasta alla Norma recipe without a lot of work, we came up with a few strategies. First, we microwaved cubes of salted eggplant to quickly draw the moisture from the eggplant. We then added a secret ingredient, anchovies, to our tomato sauce to give it a deep, savory… read more

To create a bold, complex Pasta alla Norma recipe without a lot of work, we came up with a few strategies. First, we microwaved cubes of salted eggplant to quickly draw the moisture from the eggplant. We then added a secret ingredient, anchovies, to our tomato sauce to give it a deep, savory flavor without any fishiness. For the best Pasta alla Norma, we found that the eggplant should be combined with the sauce at the last minute to prevent it from soaking up too much tomato and becoming soggy.

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Serves 4

We call for both regular and extra-virgin olive oil in this recipe. The higher smoke point of regular olive oil makes it best for browning the eggplant; extra-virgin olive oil stirred into the sauce before serving lends fruity flavor. If you don’t have regular olive oil, use vegetable oil. We prefer kosher salt in step 1 because it clings best to the eggplant. If using table salt, reduce the amount to ½ teaspoon. Ricotta salata is traditional, but French feta, Pecorino Romano, and Cotija (a firm, crumbly Mexican cheese) are acceptable substitutes; see “Ricotta Salata’s Understudies,” below. Our preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen.

Ingredients

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