Get the Recipe for a Pasta Alla Norma Inspired by 'The White Lotus'
The second season of HBO Max's The White Lotus took fans from Hawaii, the tropical island backdrop for the first season, to Sicily — and brought all the sexiness, intrigue and gorgeous seaside locations with it.
Sun-kissed and stressed over their troubled relationships, guests at the luxurious White Lotus in Sicily find themselves sipping on aperitivo Aperol spritzes by the water and dining in the plush hotel restaurant almost every night. Unlike their resort stay, marred by dark secrets, this classic Sicilian pasta tossed with crisped chunks of eggplant and a garlicky tomato sauce and topped with creamy sheets of ricotta salata has nothing to hide.
RELATED: 'The White Lotus' Season 2: All the Stunning Real Places Where the Show Was Filmed in Sicily
The White Lotus's Pasta alla Norma
1 (1-lb.) pkg. uncooked rigatoni, calamarata or penne pasta
⅓ cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. Japanese or small globe eggplants, sliced into ½-in. half-moons
2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tsp. dried oregano
4 oz. ricotta salata, shaved (about ½ cup)
Torn fresh basil leaves, for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions to al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, heat ⅓ cup of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high. Add eggplant and 1 teaspoon of the salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is softened and golden brown on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer eggplant to a bowl.
3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in Dutch oven over medium high. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring often, until darkened in color, about 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes with their juices, oregano and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
4. Stir pasta, eggplant and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water into tomato sauce. Cook, stirring often, adding more water if needed, until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with ricotta salata, basil and black pepper.
Active time: 35 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes