Pasta alla Norma recipe

Pasta alla Norma: the original recipe

The scents and flavours of Sicily in a recipe: pasta alla Norma. One of the island's cuisine symbols, this speciality from Catania, was created as a culinary homage to the most beautiful opera of the famous composer Vincenzo Bellini: the Norma. A tasty pasta dish seasoned with fresh tomato sauce and fried eggplant, according to tradition, cut into slices.
Let's discover it together!

SERVES: 4
PREPARATION TIME: 1 hour and half
COOKING TIME: 10 minutes
DIFFICULTY: medium

Ingredients

  • 400g spaghetti or maccheroni
  • 2 large bright violet eggplants (variety: eggplant satin beauty)
  • 1 kg ripe tomatoes (out of season, 500g tomato preserves or homemade)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bunch basil leaves (or 2 curly basil sprigs)
  • 200g salted ricotta (for a sweeter taste, use 200g of ricotta infornata)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt
  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • Coarse salt

Preparation

  1. Slice the eggplants. Transfer into a colander and cover with coarse salt. Place an upturned plate on the top. Put something weighty above the plate (e.g. the pot filled with water that you will use to cook pasta). Let eggplants sit and release juices for an hour.
  2. Wash carefully and lay on clean dishtowels. It is a boring procedure, but it is essential to guarantee a sweet taste and dried frying.
  3. Once eggplants are completely dry, fry until golden and set aside.
  4. Boil tomatoes for a couple of minutes, peel and scrape out the seeds. Put into a pan and sauté with 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and one garlic clove. Cook over low heat until softened. Sift with a sieve.
  5. Heat the sauce gently until thickened. Add basil, sugar and season with salt.
  6. Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and toss with tomato sauce and eggplants. Top with grated ricotta cheese and garnish with some basil leaves.

The Chef’s Suggestion

Satin beauty is the best eggplant variety for pasta alla Norma. Try to find sizable bright violet eggplants. I suggest not selecting long or dark-purple egg-shaped eggplants.