The first recipe ( I’m touched!) is a dish famous in Italy but especially in Sicily. I am very fond of this pasta, so I wanted to start right here.
“Pasta alla Norma” is a dish from the city of Catania ( my city!) ; Pasta, usually macaroni, with tomato, and with the subsequent addition of fried eggplant, salted ricotta cheese and basil.
Norma is a famous opera play of Vincenzo Bellini, sicilian composer. This Pasta is a great symphony of flavors and this is the reason of its name.
This pasta is my dad’s favorite and also mine (but without ricotta cheese for me because I am milk intolerant) . In Sicily “Pizza alla Norma” is also famous. Pizza is also easy to prepare: you put the same ingredients on the pizza. The eggplant can be cut into slices or squares. I prepare Pasta alla Norma often but I like to serve it wrapping spaghetti with a slice of fried eggplant. Sicilian Spaghetti Sushi right? 😀
Maybe it will be difficult to find salted ricotta cheese , but try to prepare it because it’s really good also without it!
Ingredients serving 4 people: 300 g (10.5 oz) maccheroni, 3 big eggplants, abundant oil to fry the eggplants, 500 g (4 and ½) ripe tomatoes, 8 basil leaves, 150 g (5.2 oz) salted ricotta cheese, salt, 1 onion.
Method: Clean the eggplants, chop not too thin slices, sprinkle with salt and let stand for about one hour to lose the vegetation water. Right after, fry the eggplants in abundant oil. Drain the eggplants and lean on blotting paper to remove excess oil.
In the meantime peel and chop the tomatoes. Lightly fry the onion and add the tomatoes. Adjust with salt and pepper (just a bit) and cook over low heat for 20 minutes mashing a little with a wooden spoon. Cook the pasta in abundant salty water for few minutes and drain when al dente. Season with 70 g (2.4 oz) grated ricotta cheese and mix well. Add tomato sauce and fried eggplants mixing everything. Put the basil on top. Grate the remaining ricotta and serve.