Pasta La Norma with Pancetta and Camembert and Fig Appetizer

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Pasta La Norma with Pancetta and Camembert and Fig Appetizer

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

FIXINGS Appetizer

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”

 

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.

Set aside

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 Pancetta

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!