📋Traditional Pasta Alla Norma with Eggplants
Pasta Alla Norma is a traditional Sicilian recipe made with fried eggplants, tomato sauce and sprinkled with salted ricotta. Do it right and will not be oily.
Servings 4 people
Making the sauce
Cut the eggplants into chunks
Pour 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan and bring it at very high temperature
Stir fry the eggplants until they are soft and brown stirring occasionally
Transfer the eggplants into a try with kitchen paper and cover with more kitchen paper to absorb all the frying oil
In the same frying pan add the chopped garlic cloves
Remove the garlic once it is brown
Add the tomato sauce and the basil leaves
Let it simmer for 10 minutes
Add the eggplants and stir
Making the pasta
Bring to boil a pan full of water with a tbsp of salt
Once the water is boiling pour the pasta and boil for the amount of time specified on the package, minus 1 minute
Once ready, drain the pasta and pour over the sauce
Stir until it is all well combined
Transfer into a serving dish
Sprinkle with ricotta salata
The success of this recipe is all based in the eggplants not been too greasy. Eggplants are like sponges and they will absorb all the oil, so here are some important tips:
- Buy nice firmed eggplants, make sure they don't have too many seeds. If they do, throw them away, buy new ones and restart.
- You can use round or normal eggplants. I use the round as I chop the eggplants into chunks. If you want to cut the eggplants into slices buy regular, long slim eggplants
- Many recipes call for the eggplants to be salted and pressed for 1 hour into a strainer with a weight to drain their bitter juices. I don't do that anymore as the eggplants you buy now are no longer bitter as they were once. It is up to you.
- To fry the eggplants it is important to use extra virgin olive oil. It adds to the flavour so flavourless oils are not suitable for this recipe.
- Before you add the eggplants to the oil, make sure the oil is very, extremely hot. It will cook the eggplants faster reducing the amount of oil been absorbed.
- Once the eggplants are cooked, lay them over a double kitchen paper towel and cover with the same. Press the paper towel to make sure oil is released and absorbed by the paper.
- Cook the tomato sauce in the same oil where you fried the eggplants as it is full of flavour ( in the video I don't use the same oil for the sauce because I was shooting 2 recipes at the same time, sorry).
- Traditionally Pasta alla Norma is made with Maccheroni rigati or Rigatoni. Short tubular pasta with stripes. This shape helps to absorb the sauce and create the perfect bite for the eggplants. If you cannot find the Maccheroni, you can also use Penne or Ziti.
- Ricotta salata is less sweet than Parmesan and slightly more bitter and acidic like the Pecorino. It gives a nice contrast to the fried eggplants. If you cannot find Ricotta Salata, use Pecorino and as a last resource Parmesan.
Calories: 691kcal | Carbohydrates: 105g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1235mg | Potassium: 1183mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 603IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 3mg