Pasta con le Melanzane, also known as Pasta alla Norma, is a dish with eggplant as the main ingredient. It is typically made with spaghetti or penne pasta, sautéed eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, and basil, and is often finished with a sprinkle of ricotta salata cheese. The dish is named after the opera “Norma” by Vincenzo Bellini, as it is said to be a favorite of the composer, and it’s said that it is as popular as the opera in Sicily. The dish is a perfect blend of flavors and textures, with the tender eggplant and the savory tomato sauce complementing the pasta perfectly. It is often served as a main course, and it is a great way to use eggplant, as it is a delicious and healthy ingredient.
- 1 lb spaghetti or penne pasta
- 2 large eggplants, cut into small cubes
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup of grated ricotta salata cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion, and garlic, and cook until the eggplant is tender about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
- Add the pasta to the skillet with the eggplant sauce and toss to combine. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little of the pasta water.
- Add the chopped basil and toss to combine.
- Divide the pasta among four plates, and top each plate with grated ricotta salata cheese.
- Serve hot and enjoy with a glass of Sicilian red wine.
Note: You can add some sautéed sliced mushrooms or diced cooked ham or bacon to the sauce for more flavor. You can also use fresh tomatoes if you have them instead of canned tomatoes.
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