This Pasta a la Norma recipe has been “kicked” up a notch as I personally find the dish somewhat bland unless it’s smothered in cheese. Since I was also making “Camembert and Fig Appetizer” I decided to keep the recipe lighter as to not kill the guests with cholesterol! Both turned out fantastic and were a great addition to my Golden Globes Dinner for Four! I love finding recipe ideas then making them my own— lots easier than laying in bed wondering how I am going to blend figs and cheese and make it yummie…I look for a basic recipe then start changing it to suit my taste. Trust me my taste is fabulous:)
CAMEMBERT AND FIG APPETIZER- Ingredients
- 1 round of Camembert Cheese – good quality
- 2 packages of Pepperidge Farm- Puff Pastry Shells – TRUST me four of us eat them ALL!!
- 1- container Organic Fig Preserves (most stores – definitely Whole Foods)
- tablespoon grainy mustard
- tablespoon honey
Put pastry shells on ungreased cookie pan – follow cooking directions – HOWEVER half way through the cooking TAKE shells out and PLUCK off tops. Then fill with 3 pieces or Camberbert
and one tablespoon of Fig Preserves. You can adjust size of cheese as you are cooking — it will make total sense! I kept the little “tops” of the pastry and baked them for tiny little muffins.
Continue to bake until cheese is melted and pastry shells are brown. i.e. photo.
Sprinkle a little tiny bit of mustard honey mix on top.
THESE ARE TO DIE FOR APPETIZERS THAT TAKE MINUTES… Pretend you baked the dough and you will look like a cooking super hero. I am a great home cook- but when I can take a short cut I totally take a shortcut!!!
INGREDIENTS- Pasta a la Norma – for four
4 – Japanese Eggplants (or Chinese) you can use the big ones but they need to be cut into rounds and salted for 20 minutes or so – and then rinsed- makes them tender. Use Japanese!
1- 1/2 cans of Italian tomatoes (I use San Marzano) which are the best in my opinion. There are other brands. Use the whole tomatoes and MUSH them in a bowl with your hands. (28 oz)
1 package Italian Pancetta (Italian bacon)
1/2 cup of EVOO – could be more or less but its a start
1 onion peeled and chopped (pre chopped – I usually use 3/4 container for one onion)
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 carrot – peeled and diced
1/2 tsp sugar
6 Basil Leaves- chopped
1 packaged Wheat Penne
Pecorino Cheese for shavings— you can also use ricotta salata- but its hard t find.
All purpose flour- tiny bit – see “fixings”
Cut eggplants into little bit than bite size — or in rounds if you prefer.
Sprinkle with tiny bit of flour— just DUST
Cover large heavy pan with olive oil and sauté eggplant- medium heat. Do in bathes if need be. Make sure they are Golden and tender.
Cut Pancetta in little squares – easier for cooking – sautee until crispy – set aside
Cook onions, celery, garlic and shake of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt in Pancetta drippings – won’t be much – add EVOO as needed.
Medium heat until golden. Add tomatoes and sugar and cook over low heat blending flavors. About 40 minutes. YOU WILL HAVE 1/2 CAN OF TOMATOES LEFT – So if sauce starts
to go down too much add another one or two “smushed” tomatoes.
Add Basil Leaves – and if you want some Italian herbs— I just used Basil and Lawry’s salt and pepper.
Add Eggplant and put at very low heat – 20 minutes or so to keep blending flavors.
Boil large pot of water and add one package of Barilla Plus Multigrain Pasta- Penne
Add to boiling water – cook until aldente – drain.
In large frying pan – non stick (very important) sauté the pasta in olive EVOO oil until slightly crisp. This may be new to you – but its DELICIOUS!
Serve with slices of Pecorino of ricotta salata—- I also serve with VERY finely grated red pepper flakes… that’s for my taste so I let guests sprinkle their own amount.
There will no complaints
Serve with fresh green salad and your guests will love you forever!!! At least until the next meal!