Skillet Pasta alla Norma

tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
medium eggplants (about 2 pounds) ends trimmed, cut into ½-inch cubes
(14.5-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
¼-½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
cups water
12 ounces (about 3 ¾ cups) Nature’s Farm Macaroni pasta 
ounces ricotta salata cheese, shaved (about 1 cup) 
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, minced
Ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


1. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the eggplant and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is fully tender and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl, cover to keep warm, and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until coarsely ground and no large pieces remain, about 12 pulses.

3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the ­garlic, and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the processed tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer ­gently, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes no longer taste raw, about 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the water, then add the pasta. Cover, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until the pasta is tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

5. Stir in the eggplant and ricotta salata and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Stir in the basil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve, passing the Parmesan separately.