Wine & Other Stories

Norma pasta and an Italian Wine

Written by Veronica Lavenia

The Wolf Post offers a professional service with free access, without subscription.
For this reason, a donation would also be a sign of appreciation for our work.

In times when food sustainability can no longer be put off, Italian cuisine offers a very broad tradition on the topic. There are many iconic dishes with low environmental impact, vegetarian and/or vegan, such as pasta with tomato sauce or pesto, Pizza Margherita (and the various versions without meat and fish), risotto alla Milanese, Panzanella , Tomato Pappa, Potato Cake, pulses soups, just to name some of the best known.

The popular pasta alla Norma (candidate for UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Humanity) also belongs to the wide variety of contemporary culinary proposals which, despite their ancient history, are current due to their sustainable component.
The recipe was born in Catania, the second Sicilian city, located in the eastern part of the largest island in the Mediterranean. Two versions of the story that led to the birth of the name alternate without one ever prevailing over the other.

The first says that the writer Nino Martoglio, from Catania, gave its name to the recipe. During a lunch at the home of the most famous Sicilian actor of the early twentieth century, Angelo Musco, in front of the scent of a plate of macaroni topped with tomato sauce, aubergines and salted ricotta, he exclaimed: “This is a real Norma!” to underline that the dish was excellent just like the work of Vincenzo Bellini, famous composer from Catania. Those were, indeed, the days of the inauguration of the most important theater in the city, dedicated to Bellini, which officially opened to the public with the performance of “Norma” in 1890.

The “Norma” is among the most famous lyrical compositions of the twentieth century. The most relevant international tenors, from Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti to Maria Callas have recorded a version.

Norma Pasta is a simple dish as Italian tradition teaches, which owes its success to the quality of the ingredients.

Tomato sauce with tomatoes ripened under the Sicilian sun, eggplant cooked just right like the pasta (strictly short and made with durum wheat semolina like a real Italian pasta) and, finally, a sprinkling of ricotta salata (salted ricotta), one of the typical cheeses of the Sicilian tradition.

Sustainable and vegetarian, 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.

Vándari Falanghina - Antica Masseria Venditti

© Piero Pardini – Wine Reviews – The Wolf Post – TUSCANY – ITALY

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

©The Wolf Post- Veronica Lavenia

  1. 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;
  2. 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);
  3. When the tomato pulp is almost cooked, add basil;
  4. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water till “al dente”. Once cooked, add pasta to the sauce and stir;
  5. Transfer the mixture into a serving dish and arrange the eggplants on top;
  6. Garnish with a generous sprinkling of salted ricotta.

About the author

Veronica Lavenia

Writer, book author and magazine contributor, some of her works have appeared in the most popular International magazines.
Digital Content Manager and Communication Manager at "The Wolf Post", since the birth of the platform.

This site is protected by