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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
800 g ripe tomatoes or 800 g canned diced tomatoes
500 g aubergines
2 cloves garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
handful of fresh basil leaves
100 g ricotta, bryndza or mozzarella cheese (for a lighter version)
salt
400 g spaghetti or another pasta
vegetable oil for frying
Pasta alla “Norma”

Pasta alla “Norma”

Features:
  • Vegetarian
Cuisine:
  • 45
  • Serves 4
  • Medium

Ingredients

  • 800 g ripe tomatoes or 800 g canned diced tomatoes

  • 500 g aubergines

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 4 tbsp olive oil

  • handful of fresh basil leaves

  • 100 g ricotta, bryndza or mozzarella cheese (for a lighter version)

  • salt

  • 400 g spaghetti or another pasta

  • vegetable oil for frying

Directions

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Pasta alla “Norma” is one of the most famous traditional Sicilian dishes. It’s believed to be originated from Catania – the second largest city or Sicily after its capital, Palermo. It is supposedly named after Vincenzo Bellini’s opera Norma.

This dish is a stunning example of Italian cuisine – it is easy and uses only seasonal ingredients but offers a wonderful combination of flavors – sour sweet tomato sauce, slightly sweet aubergines, salty ricotta and flavorsome basil. Though this easiness hides complexity as the taste directly depends on taste of the ingredients you use. So, to make the real Sicilian Pasta alla “Norma”, you will need sweet and ripe Sicilian tomatoes, round Sicilian aubergines with white and tender pulp and salty and flavorsome ricotta. Then, once you taste the pasta, you will exclaim with delight that the pasta is as magnificent as Bellini’s work, just a legend explaining the pasta’s origin tells. But don’t be upset! Pasta alla “Norma” cooked not in Sicily can also be most delicious dish! Moreover, you are free to experiment with ingredients and make a lighter version by frying aubergines with less oil and substitute ricotta with mozzarella.

Let’s try! Pasta alla “Norma is a wonderful dish that is worthy of your attention and table!

Bon appetite!

 

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Steps

1
Done

Begin with preparing tomato sauce. Or use the one you already have prepared according to this recipe, for example.

2
Done

According to a classic recipe for tomato sauce, place ripe potatoes into boiling water for 30 sec, take out, peel and cut into large chunks.

3
Done

Heat some olive oil in a pan. Slightly crush the garlic cloves and cook them for about 1 min to add some flavor to the oil and remove. Add the tomatoes and cook covered over medium low heat for 20-25 min. The tomatoes should become soft and release juices. If there are too much liquid - increase the heat and let it evaporate.

4
Done

Remove from heat. Add salt and mash through a sieve as the sauce must be smooth. If you use canned tomatoes - cook them uncovered for about 45 min, stirring occasionally. Add hot water, if necessary.

5
Done

In the meantime, wash and dry the aubergines. Don’t peel them; cut off the stem and dice into 1,5x1,5 cm cubes. Place in a strainer, sprinkle with salt and let strain for 30 min. After the allotted time, rinse the aubergines, pat completely dry with a towel so the hot oil doesn't spatter during frying.

6
Done

Heat some vegetable oil in a saucepan. In order the aurebrines be cooked through and won’t absorb too much oil, keep to the following rules:

a) As aubergines should float in oil, add at least 3 cm of oil.

b) Heat oil so that it bubbles when the aubergines are added.

c) Fry the aubergines in small batches so that oil temperature won’t drop when you add the aubergines.

For a lighter version, slice the aubergines. Drizzle with oil and in a dry non-stick pan or grill.

7
Done

Remove the deep fried aubergines and lay them onto kitchen paper to get rid of any excess oil.

8
Done

Cook the pasta al dente. Save some pasta water.

9
Done

Toss the pasta with the tomato sauce and the aubergines. Add some pasta water, if needed.

10
Done

Divide between plates, sprinkle with grated ricotta or bryndza and basil leaves. For a lighter version, substitute with mozzarella.

How to serve:
Serve straight away.

How to keep:
The cooked dish is not supposed to be kept. Tomato sauce can be kept separately in the fridge for 2 days or in the freezer for months.

 

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