A classic Italian recipe, also known as pasta alla norma, ziti with roasted eggplant and ricotta cheese is a quick and impressive pasta dish.
Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables to roast as it becomes savory and caramelized and pairs perfectly with the creamy ricotta cheese.
Also known as Pasta Alla Norma
This recipe is very similar to a classic recipe called pasta alla norma. Which, traditionally has fried eggplant and ricotta salata. A pressed, dried ricotta cheese that is shaved onto the pasta. However, the creaminess of ricotta cheese is so lovely in this recipe.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
I have a recipe for making homemade ricotta cheese, which does take time but the process is pretty straight forward. I highly suggest you make a batch for this recipe. There is nothing like it, just waiting for roasted eggplant and sweet San Marzano tomatoes.
Or you can make this sweet dessert recipe called kanafe with the homemade ricotta cheese.
A Few Tips on Cooking with Eggplant
I just love working with eggplant. I have a number of recipes both in my first cookbook and on here, such as deconstructed baba ghanoush or classic eggplant parmesan.
- When picking out an eggplant, look for the younger, smaller eggplants. They will have less seeds and be less bitter.
- Look for eggplant that has a smooth skin with no blemishes or bruises.
- The eggplant skin is not my favorite part, so I will peel most or all of the skin off, that way I can enjoy the whole bite without a tough peel leftover.
- Eggplant is like a sponge and soaks up everything! So don't overdo it with the olive oil, a good drizzle or brush is enough.
- Speaking of, I often will salt the eggplant before cooking it. It helps draw out any excess moisture so it fry's or roasts better with a more crispy exterior.
More eggplant recipes
Ziti with Roasted Eggplant and Ricotta Cheese
- ½ lb ziti or penne
- 1 large eggplant or 2 medium-sized
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 32 oz can San Marzano whole tomatoes
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Fresh basil
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Trim ends off eggplant and peel 1 inch sections off skin leaving half of skin intact. Cut eggplant into ½ 1 inch cubes and place eggplant in colander and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt, tossing everything together and allow to drain for 15-20 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place eggplant on foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Once done, set aside.
- While eggplant is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta and cook pasta according to package directions. (I always go about 1 minute less and check as I go).
- In a separate pot, over medium heat, drizzle with olive oil and add chopped garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes until just lightly golden. Add whole tomatoes, crushing them by hand as you add them in, with all their juices and the red pepper flakes and season with salt. Bring sauce to a gentle boil and then reduce for 10 minutes.
- When pasta is done, reserve about ½ cup of cooking water (I always save this just in case the pasta is too dry) then drain the pasta and add the pasta back into its pot.
- Then add in the tomato sauce and roasted eggplant and stir everything together. At this point you can either mix in heaping spoonfuls of ricotta cheese or serve the pasta with dollops of cheese on top.
- Once plated, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with grated Parmesan and fresh basil.
What does it mean Trim ends off eggplant and peel 1 in sections off skin leaving half of skin intact? I am perplexed!! LOL
Hi Lori! I usually post step by step photos, but I was on a time crunch this time so I didn't, sorry! Basically, cut the ends off the eggplant and use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin of the eggplant. Instead of peeling off all the skin, just peel off "sections" so it will look like stripes. I hope that makes more sense!
Lee amoroso says
How much olive oil do you use to cook the garlic in? I made this recipe and guessed at the amount based on other Lidia recipes. It was sooooo delicious..
Hi Lee. To be honest, I don't usually "measure" olive oil when I saute. I do a good drizzle in the pan a few times...I would guesstimate 2 Tb?
An email told me the other day that it's eggplant season, is that true? Eggplant is delicious and this recipe looks fantastic. Looking fwd to trying it, thanks for sharing!
Shaun Hutchinson says
Hello grea recipe but no mention of pasta weight/amount?! 🙂
Hi Shaun. It was 1/2lb penne or zitti. I must have missed adding that in. Thank you for letting me know!
Liz @ The Lemon Bowl says
So fresh and simple - a great way to showcase Summer produce! Love this recipe.
Looks deliciuos. For how amny hungry people would that be?
I only used half a box of penne which is 1/2 lb and it made a lot! It fed about 8 people as a side dish at a bbq and there was still leftovers!
We both must have a weakness for pasta. This is my kind of dish too! Looks fantastic Samantha!
The Wimpy Vegetarian says
This is the perfect summer dinner with a salad!! It just sounds so wonderful.
Jennie @themessybakerblog says
Sam, this dish looks absolutely amazing. And the cheese- yum!