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Pasta alla Norma is the main dish par excellence of Catania, the second largest Sicilian city (Eastern Sicily). So called in honor of Vincenzo Bellini’s opera “Norma” (his masterpiece) it is made with ricotta salata (salty ricotta cheese) and eggplants. A good quality ricotta (available in Italian specialty food stores or supermarkets) makes this dish special.
The proposed pairing Vándari Falanghina 2019 by . “Notes of fresh white flowers intertwine with hints of yellow-fleshed fruit reminiscent of apricot and nectarine, completing the range of fruity scents with intense notes of pineapple and a nuance of bitter almond.” For the full review click here.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 3 eggplants
- sea salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 500 g (17 oz/2 cups) tomato pulp
- 5 basil leaves
- 320 g (11 oz) maccheroni or other short pasta
- 100 g (3½ oz) salted ricotta cheese
- Cut the eggplant and lightly salt (if you do not want the texture of the skin in the final result, you can peel the eggplant). Put a plate on top, pressing it down, and leave to draw out excess water for about 30 minutes. Drain and dry the eggplants on kitchen paper;
- In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the eggplants until golden brown all over. After browning the garlic in olive oil, remove it and cook the tomato pulp until the sauce is consistent (when you cook the tomatoes add a pinch of brown sugar to remove the acidity);
- When the tomato pulp is almost cooked, add basil;
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water till “al dente”. Once cooked, add pasta to the sauce and stir;
- Transfer the mixture into a serving dish and arrange the eggplants on top;
- Garnish with a generous sprinkling of salted ricotta.