Pasta with Fried Eggplant

Pasta with Fried Eggplant excerpted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Photography by Aya Brackett.

Pasta with Fried Eggplant excerpted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Photography by Aya Brackett.

For twenty years, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything has been the definitive guide to simple home cooking. This new edition has been completely revised for today’s cooks while retaining Bittman’s trademark minimalist style—easy-to-follow recipes and variations, and tons of ideas and inspiration.

Inside, you’ll find hundreds of brand new features, recipes, and variations, like Slow-Simmered Beef Chili, My New Favorite Fried Chicken, and Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce; plus old favourites from the previous editions, in many cases reimagined with new methods or flavours. Recipes and features are designed to give How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittmanyou unparalleled freedom and flexibility: for example, infinitely variable basic techniques (Grilling Vegetables, Roasting Seafood); innovative uses for homemade condiments; easy-to-make one-pot pastas; and visual guides to improvising soups, stir-fries, and more. Bittman has also updated all the information on ingredients, including whole grains and produce, alternative baking staples, and sustainable seafood. And, new for this edition, recipes are showcased throughout with colour photos.

By increasing the focus on usability, modernizing the recipes to become new favourites, and adding gorgeous photography, Mark Bittman has updated this classic cookbook to be more indispensable than ever.

MARK BITTMAN is the author of 30 acclaimed books, including the How to Cook Everything series, the award-winning Food Matters, and the New YorkTimes number-one bestseller, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00. For more than two decades his popular and compelling stories appeared in the Times, where he was ultimately the lead food writer for the Sunday magazine and became the country’s first food-focused Op-Ed columnist for a major news publication. Bittman has starred in four television series, including Showtime’s Emmy-winning Years of Living Dangerously. He has written for nearly every major newspaper in the United States and many magazines, and has spoken at dozens of universities and conferences; his 2007 TED talk has had more than a million views. Throughout his career, Bittman has strived for the same goal: to make food, in all its aspects, understandable.

How to Cook Everything―Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition: Simple Recipes for Great Food is available at and Indigo.

Pasta with Fried Eggplant

YIELD: 4 servings | TIME: About 45 minutes

Sicilian pasta alla Norma has the most luxurious vegetable sauce I know. The pan-fried eggplant becomes silky, rich, and flavourful from olive oil. For a lighter version—which is also quite good—see the variation. And peel the eggplant if you must, but it’s neither traditional nor necessary.

1½ pounds eggplant

Salt and pepper

Olive oil for frying (at least ½ cup)

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

3 or 4 dried red chiles, or red chile flakes to taste

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, or 1½ pounds chopped fresh

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or

1 teaspoon dried

1 pound long pasta

½ cup chopped fresh parsley or basil

½ cup grated ricotta salata or pecorino Romano

  1. Cut the eggplant crosswise into slices about ½ inch thick. Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it.
  2. Put about ½ inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add a layer of eggplant, careful not to overcrowd, and sprinkle with salt. Cook, turning once until the eggplant is tender and browned on both sides, 5 to 10 minutes total; adjust the heat so the eggplant sizzles without smoking. As the slices finish, transfer them to a plate; don’t drain on towels. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding more oil as needed.
  3. When the eggplant is cooked, pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil and set the pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chiles, and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic colours a little. Add the tomatoes and oregano, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down into a sauce, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Cook the pasta until it’s tender but not mushy; start tasting after 5 minutes. Cut the eggplant into strips and add to the tomato sauce. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding enough pasta cooking water to coat the noodles. Taste and adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with the parsley and cheese, and serve.


Instead of slicing the eggplant, cut it into 1-inch cubes; roast according to the recipe on page 247. In Step 3, put 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet and proceed with the recipe.

If the eggplant hasn’t finished roasting by the time the rest of the sauce is done, turn off the heat under the tomatoes until you’re ready to add the roasted eggplant.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 

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