Pasta Alla Norma


1 eggplant
1 clove garlic
10 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
3 oz. aged salted ricotta, grated
olive oil
1 lb. penne
10 basil leaves

How to make the Pasta with Eggplant and Basil:

Favored by Catania’s Vincenzo Bellini, who wrote the opera La Norma.

Slice the eggplant and place on a cutting board propped on a slant, cover with salt and leave under a weight for one hour until the bitter water seeps out. Brown the garlic in oil, add the tomatoes and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced by 1/3. Add pinch of pepper, remove from heat and set aside.

Wash the slices of eggplant and pat dry; fry in hot oil, place on paper towels to dry, then chop coarsely, and set aside. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until just al dente and drain. Quickly toss in a large skillet half of the tomato sauce, the eggplant, a few basil leaves and half of the grated cheese over a brisk flame. Then put the pasta in the serving dish, cover with the remaining half of the sauce, the rest of the grated ricotta, sprinkle with a few more basil leaves and serve.

Serves 6

Regional recipe from Sicily