Riso alla Norma is made with pasta (normally short tube-shaped pasta such as rigatoni or penne) and an eggplant-based sauce. The dish is named after Vincenzo Bellini’s opera, “Norma,” and is considered a classic of Sicilian cuisine. The pasta is typically topped with a sauce made from fried eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, and basil and then finished with a sprinkle of salty ricotta cheese. Some variations also include the addition of meat or fish. It is a hearty and flavorful dish, perfect for a comforting and satisfying meal.
- 1 pound of rigatoni or penne pasta
- 2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 2 cups of tomato sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of basil leaves, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of grated ricotta salata cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
- Place the eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to release excess water.
- Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels.
- Place the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour, shaking off any excess.
- Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant slices and cook until browned on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water for about 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a separate pan, prepare the tomato sauce by heating olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and basil.
- Mix pasta, eggplant, and tomato sauce in a large mixing bowl.
- Serve pasta in a bowl and sprinkle grated ricotta salata cheese on top.
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