The Pasta alla Norma is one of the most famous Sicilian dishes in the world. Any palate, even the most demanding, will appreciate its goodness.
PREPARATION TIME 1 hour and half
COOKING TIME 10 minutes
400g spaghetti or maccheroni
2 large bright violet eggplants (variety: eggplant satin beauty)
1 kg ripe tomatoes (out of season, 500g tomato preserves or homemade)
1 garlic clove
1 bunch basil leaves (or 2 curly basil sprigs)
200g salted ricotta (for a sweeter taste, use 200g of ricotta infornata)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
Peanut oil, for frying
Slice the eggplants. Transfer into a colander and cover with coarse salt. Place an upturned plate on the top. Put something weighty above the plate (e.g. the pot filled of water that you will use to cook pasta). Let eggplants sit and release juices for an hour.
Wash carefully and lay on clean dishtowels. It is a boring procedure, but it is essential to guarantee a sweet taste and a dried frying.
Once eggplants are completely dry, fry until golden and set aside.
Boil tomatoes for a couple of minutes, peel and scrape out the seeds. Put into a pan and sauté with 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and one garlic clove. Cook over low heat until softened. Sift with a sieve.
Heat the sauce gently until thickened. Add basil, sugar and season with salt.
Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and toss with tomato sauce and eggplants. Top with grated ricotta cheese and garnish with some basil leaves.
The Chef’s Suggestion
Satin beauty is the best eggplant variety for pasta alla Norma. Try to find large bright violet eggplants. I suggest to not selecting long or dark-purple egg-shaped eggplants.