Pasta Alla Norma and Strawberry Snack Cake

In post Atkins diet era I find myself craving carbs guiltlessly, but even so, I do not wish that heavy, almost rigamortis like stuffed feeling that one gets after having ingested just 1/4 of the De Cecco box of pasta upon anyone. So, I decided to make a healthier version of Pasta Alla Norma with my addition of zucchini- recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray (yes, another non chef, but hey!, the woman does have some good ideas). I accompanied it with a roasted chicken and to top off the not so unhealthy, but not healthy either scale, I made my version of strawberry snack cake. I was attracted to make the cake after seeing a picture of it on, which led me to me this great blog-

I changed it in accordance to the ingredients that I could find and I also added the lemon juice to the strawberries instead of the cake by accident. Though, I can see how some juice and even zest in the cake batter could help liven it up even more. If by some chance you have rosewater in your food cupboard then add a little splash of that, but if you don’t then don’t even worry about it.

Below, my version of these recipes: (thought the chicken you can roast to your liking)

Not the most beautiful looking dish, but delishes none the less.

Not the most beautiful looking dish, but delishes none the less.

Pasta Alla Norma

1 medium eggplant
1 whole head of garlic
1 container of cherry tomatoes
2 baby zucchini or one medium sized one
Ricotta Salata or just Ricotta
1/2lbs Dried pasta such as Penne, Orchiotte or Cavatappi
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil or dried Herbs de Provence

Heat oven 450 F

Cut slits on the eggplant and then stick it on a baking sheet lined with foil.

Get the garlic and slash the top of the head, cover it in olive oil and then wrap in foil and stick it in the oven along side the eggplant.

Cut the zucchini into desired shape (I first cut them in half horizontally and then into half moons from there). Season them with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and place in another sheet pan or the same sheet pan as the rest of the vegetables. Do this after the eggplant has been in the oven for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, get a large pot of water heating.

When you notice that the eggplant is either getting flat or simply getting softer, place the tomatoes seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil and allow to cook for at least 15 minutes or until the skins are wrinkly and they are easily pressed. Check the zucchini, as it tends to cook quickly
I tend to wait until all the vegetables are out of the oven and cooling, until I start to cook the pasta in hard boiling, salted water. (Remember to save some of the pasta cooking water)

Once you can handle the eggplant, remove the meat from inside and place into a large bowl. Squeeze out the now pulpy garlic from its head and place the tomatoes in the bowl. Smooch everything until well combined. Add the zucchini then grate in the cheese and then add as much water as you think is needed in order to make the mixture a little more sauce like. Add the herbs, seasonings and combine and then add the pasta.

Serve alone or along chicken as I did.

Serves 4 and even a little more

An incredibly tender cake made even better with the addition of the fresh strawberry sauce.

An incredibly tender cake made even better with the addition of the fresh strawberry sauce.

Strawberry Snack Cake

3/4 cups AP flour (minus 2 Tlbs & 1tsp and replace with same amount of cornstarch)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup soy strawberry yogurt
1 ½ Tbls Canola Oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vanilla milk (Nesquik)

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pound strawberries, stemmed and sliced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Splash rose water if you have it

Heat oven 350 F
Grease an 8×8 inch pan to

In a large bowl, sift in the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

To that add the soy yogurt, vanilla, water and milk. Mix together until well combined.

Pour into the pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean. (The original recipe states that it should bake in 30 minutes, but my oven is strong so after 15 minutes it was ready. Remove and allow to cool completely.)


 combine the strawberries, cornstarch, sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until sauce boils and thickens. Add splash of rose water if you wish.

Allow for it to cool for a few minutes then spread on top of the cake.

The cake with topping may be served warm or chilled.

Serves 9

4 thoughts on “Pasta Alla Norma and Strawberry Snack Cake

  1. Oh my..they both look so yummy. How I wish I could hire you to be my personal chef! Whats your rate for an Easter dinner and what would you serve? I love the snack cake concept too, using soy. good job my sarah

  2. brill site this formidable to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor :)

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