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Tuesday
Feb252014

Lasagna alla Norma (Eggplant Lasagna)

ceramic plate from Fifty One and a Half

 

Do you remember the classic Sicilian pasta dish Pasta alla Norma that I posted a while back?   It's a great vegetarian dish made with eggplant, capers and tomatoes.  Well, I thought it might be fun to turn it into a lasagna for this post. 

It's very simple to make - the method I prefer for the eggplant is just to roast it in the oven instead of frying. I like it much better this way and it's in fact a lot easier and uses a lot less oil. The whole lasagna can be assembled ahead of time if you want and refrigerated.  Just bring it to room temperature a bit before popping it in the oven to bake.

ceramic plate from Fifty One and a Half


This lasagna calls for Ricotta Salata, a wonderful white cheese that you can grate easily.  You should be able to find this cheese now at better grocery stores.  It has a sharp bite to it that's really great. If you can't find it, you could use some feta as a substitute but it won't be quite the same.

I love self contained cheese graters that let you catch the grated cheese

 

In this recipe, I used Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles.  It's not a noodle that I use a lot but I know so many people like to use them that I wanted to use them in this recipe.  They require that you use plenty of sauce so that the noodles soften during cooking.  They do save time by not having to boil the noodles.  If you don't want to use them, just use whichever lasagna noodle that you like. 

 

Lasagna alla Norma

for a printable recipe click here

serves 10 - 12

Ingredients:

for the roasted eggplant:

  • 2 large eggplants, cut into barely one inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

for the sauce: 

  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced or grated 
  • 1 heaping tablespoon capers packed in salt, chopped coursely 
  • 2 28-ounce cans of tomato puree or sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red hot chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

for the lasagna

  • 2 boxes of Barilla no boil lasagna noodles (or whatever lasagna noodles you like)
  • 8 ounces Ricotta Salata cheese
  • 1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (use convection if you have it). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil and spray with Pam (cooking spray).  Place the eggplant ingredients in a large bowl and toss everything together well. Place half of the eggplant on each baking pan. Roast the eggplant for about 25 minutes, rotating pans if you do not have a convection oven.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Lower oven temp to 350 degrees F. 

In a medium saute pan, add the olive oil, onion and salt and cook over low heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and capers cook one minute more.  Increase heat just a little and add the canned tomatoes, chili flakes and oregano.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  

In a 13x9 baking pan, place about ¾ cup of the sauce in the bottom of the pan and spread it out to cover the entire bottom. Boil the lasagna noodles if you are not using the no-boil kind. If you are using the Barilla noodles, place 6 noodles in one layer, covering the whole pan.  Add about a cup of sauce and spread on the noodles, making sure they all are covered in sauce.  Add more sauce if you need to in order to cover the noodles.  Place a fourth of the eggplant on the tomato sauce, a fourth of the ricotta salata and a few of the basil leaves for one layer.  Repeat three times more.  For the last layer, place 6 noodles on top and cover with the remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with the mozzarella and oregano.  Cover tightly with nonstick foil or use regular foil, spraying the underside with cooking spray.  

Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. .  Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for about 15 minutes before slicing to serve. 

 

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Reader Comments (15)

What a great idea to roast the eggplant instead of frying-certainly less mess as well as healthier-wonderful recipe!

February 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaney (Ortensia Blu)

This looks FABULOUS! I love eggplant. I've also learned a trick to HEAVILY salt eggplant for awhile before cooking to draw some of the bitterness out. You rinse and pat dry after the salt does its work and the eggplant that you get is sweet and creamy and fabulous.

February 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Chardonnay Kitchen

Hi Elaine, First let me say i love your blog, and have made many of your delicious recipes. I am wondering where the nice wine glass is from (hoping I can purchase them somewhere :). Thanks -Kim

February 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkim

Hi Elaine,

This looks delicious! Is it possible to cut the ingredients in half to make a smaller dish?

February 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Hi Elaine,
Your Pasta Norma recipe is one of our favorites, and this lasagne looks wonderful too. I noticed in your description of Pasta Norma that you mentioned capers as an ingredient. Do you add them? Your recipe doesn't include them. Sounds good though! Thanks for the wonderful blog. I have made many of your recipes from apps to dessert and have never been disappointed.

February 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

From The Italian Dish:

The Chardonnay Kitchen: Actually, I don't salt my eggplant anymore before cooking. There have been quite a few studies done on this old practice and they have shown that there is no benefit to that in relation to bitterness with modern eggplants. It ends up tasting the same. Harold McGee, the food science expert, says not to bother to salt eggplant. It would be interesting to do your own side by side comparison! Salting does, however, collapse the air pockets within the eggplant and that can be beneficial when frying in oil so it doesn't soak up quite so much. http://tinyurl.com/lqwlfm3

Kim: I got the glasses from Crate and Barrel. They are Eddy Everyday Stacking Glasses. I love them because they have a very short stem and people are less likely to knock them over. I'm not a big fan of stemless wine glasses and so these are perfect. They also stack and I can store them two high in my cabinets. http://tinyurl.com/mrdthr5

Anne: Yes, this recipe is easily halved. I make 8x8 pans of lasagna all the time.

Lisa: Ouch. Thanks for pointing that out. That's what I get for proofing my post late at night. It's corrected!

February 25, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Can't wait to try this! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLucia

Love it! A wonderful combination of flavors, beautiful execution and a universally comforting dish!

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Nova

Obviously a different approach to your traditional lasagna - I just hope I can find this Ricotta Salata. Delicious looking recipe. Thanks for sharing :)

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Hi, do you happen to know if ricotta salata and ricotta sarda is the same cheese? I tried googling ricotta sarda but ended up with all Italian hits, and since I don't speak Italian it was of no help to me. My store carries only ricotta sarda, but it sure looks a lot like salata.

March 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKarolina

This recipe looks fantastic ! It reminds me this excelent restaurant where I tried the best eggplant parmigiana ever. I had a taste that I won't forget, and it was authentic italian food, not just one of this chain restautant that are far away from the concept. http://www.ninosrestaurants.com/home.html

March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMason

Looks Great, Thank You for the recipe.

March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMario Broker

the capers are added in the sauce

July 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary Beth

Would you please let me know if & how I can freeze both the Lasagna alla Norma (Eggplant Lasagna) and the Tarragon Chicken?

Thanks a million.

July 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGail

From The Italian Dish: Karolina: I'm not sure if Ricotta Sarda is the same thing - it sure looks like it. Maybe someone else can comment on this?

Gail: You can absolutely freeze both dishes.

July 21, 2015 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

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