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Pasta alla Norma recipe

Pasta alla Norma, a dish that hails fromthe Italian city of Catania, consists of pasta tossed with atomato basil sauce and topped with fried eggplant and gratedricotta salata.

Recipe: Pasta alla Norma

2 pounds Italian eggplant
Coarse-grained salt
1 quart vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound dried rigatoni or spaghetti

Sauce:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium-sized garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 pounds ripe, fresh tomatoes or 1 1/2 pounds canned tomatoes(preferably imported from Italy)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 large fresh basil leaves

4 to 6 tablespoons freshly grated ricottasalata

  • Peel the eggplants and slice them crosswiseinto discs less than 1/2 inch thick. Place the eggplant in abowl, lightly sprinkling coarse salt on each layer. Let standfor 30 minutes with a weight on them (such as a plate with acan of tomatoes on top).
  • Start the sauce: Heat 1/3 cup olive oilin a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic andsaute for 3 minutes. If using fresh tomatoes, cut theminto 1-inch pieces. Add fresh or canned tomatoes to saucepanand simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every so often with a woodenspoon. Taste for salt and pepper. Pass the contents of pan thorougha food mill, using the disc with the smallest holes, into a medium-sizedglass or ceramic bowl. Return the tomato puree to the saucepanand reduce for 5 minutes.
  • Heat the vegetable oil and 1/4 cup oliveoil together in a deep-fat fryer over medium heat. Rinse theeggplant very well and pat dry with paper towels. When the oilis hot (about 400°F / 205°C) add some of the eggplantand cook until lightly golden on each side, about 2 minutes.Using a strainer/skimmer, transfer the cooked eggplant to a servingdish lined with paper towels. Fry the rest of the eggplant inthe same way.
  • Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil.When the water reaches a boil, add coarse salt to taste, thenadd the pasta and cook until al dente-9 to 12 minutes dependingon the brand. Reheat the tomato sauce and add the basil leaves.Drain the pasta, transfer to a large serving dish, and pour thesauce over the top. Toss very well, add the eggplant and servewith grated ricotta salata sprinkled over each portion.

    Serves 6.

    Pasta alla norma ( pasta with eggplants ) – Italian recipe

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