The classic dish of Pasta alla Norma from Sicily, if done well, borders on perfection. The flavors and textures of the simple ingredients come together in a true multi sensory symphony for a wonderful plate of food.
Recommended wine pairing: Etna Rosso Valcerasa
Etna Rosso di Valcerasa which boosts the crunchiness of the fruit for maximum flavor is the ideal combination to enhance all the flavors of the dish
- 320g/11oz dried pasta (you could use penne, fusilli, or rigati)
- 400g/14oz eggplant
- 700g/25oz fresh tomatoes for sauce OR 500g/18oz tinned tomatoes
- 150g/5oz salted hard ricotta, to be grated
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Basil leaves
- Vegetable oil for frying
- To start, cut the eggplants into 4 parts and thinly slice. Heat the vegetable oil in a wide pan to almost boiling and fry the eggplant slices for 1–2 minutes at a time before draining on absorbent paper.
- If you are using fresh tomatoes, blanch them in water for 10 minutes and then blend for a smooth sauce.
- If you are using tinned tomatoes, there’s no need to cook them first, simply blend until smooth.
- In a fresh pan over a low heat, brown the minced garlic in olive oil for a few seconds before adding the blended tomatoes and some torn basil leaves.
- Cook for 15 minutes over a medium heat, taste and add salt as needed, along with a few more fresh basil leaves. Turn off the heat while the pasta cooks.
- Add the pasta to a pot with boiling, salted water and cook to al dente.
- Turn the heat back on under the tomato sauce, drain the pasta and add it into the tomato sauce. Stir and season as needed.
- Add a portion of pasta to each dish, then add some of the fried eggplant and top with grated salted ricotta and fresh basil to serve.
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