Food, Pasta, Pizza, Risotto

Pasta alla Norma

Loreto March 19, 2015

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pasta alla norma

Behind every great pasta is a great sauce, whether a simple oil, garlic and chilies or a complex carbonara with egg, pancetta, parmigiano reggiano, or pasta and broccoli, or fettuccine with mushrooms. The fact remains that pasta is great food if prepared properly. Three key points to a good pasta: great products, attention to cooking times, and a passion to cook. For us pasta is a great dish when you have had a busy day and you want to make something quick and easy yet healthy and delicious.

 

 

The pasta I have prepared tonight is my version of Pasta alla Norma, a classic regional italian dish, from Sicily to be precise, that I made with Rigatoni pasta and a nice tomato sauce with a slight kick to it and a beautiful sautéed diced eggplant and crispy fried eggplant on top. The key to this dish is to use a ricotta salata, a salted ricotta cheese, instead of the parmigiano, that you shave, or crumble like I did, on top. It is going to melt in the sauce and become a delicious cream. I tried to be very close to the original recipe, because you know, when it comes to classics, in Italy they’re pretty serious.

Various textures make this dish delectable. Again I went shopping to the Italian Center Shop to pick up key ingredients like San marzano tomatoes, ricotta salata which you could only find there, and fresh basil. The eggplant I had bought at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market. When these two team up the possibilities are endless.

Pasta alla Norma: tangy, slightly spicy with the soft distinct hint of eggplant and the saltiness of the ricotta.  What more can I say except try it and have fun making it.

If you have any question please write to us. We would love to hear from you.

Good eats.

pasta alla norma

pasta alla norma

Buon appetito!

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Pasta alla Norma

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 of a dried chili pepper
  • 1 can San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes
  • extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 300 grams of good quality Italian rigatoni pasta
  • 2 leaves of fresh basil
  • ricotta salata shaved on top

Instructions

  1. In a sauté pan drizzle olive oil to cover bottom of pan. Add cloves of garlic and crushed chilies.
  2. Puree tomatoes in a small food processor and pour into pan.
  3. Break up basil leaves, add salt and pepper to taste and put into pan, partially cover and let simmer till thickened about 30 minutes.
  4. While the sauce is simmering cut about 50 percent of the eggplant and dice, set aside the other 40 percent for use later.
  5. Heat some more olive oil in another sauté pan and sauté eggplant, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook till softened and add to tomato sauce.
  6. Bring a pot of water to boil around 8 cups of water, add pasta and cook approximately 12 minutes or to the product suggested cook time and remember you can taste the pasta to make sure it’s al dente.
  7. Take the eggplant you set aside and cut very thin slices diameter wise, heat olive oil in a sauté pan and put in eggplant and fry till crispy and golden brown.
  8. Take pasta and toss in tomato sauce and plate.
  9. Put a bit of the fried eggplant chips on top and finish with some crumbled or shaved ricotta salata.
  10. If you want you can also drizzle a little olive oil on top and add some basil leaves for decoration.
  11. Now its ready to serve and eat.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 portions
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