Is there anything more Sicilian than pasta alla norma ? A tasty and timeless recipe that manages to bring all the Sicilian sun to the table even on the darkest days. One of the most loved and popular dishes in the history of our Region: tomato pasta with fried aubergines , grated salted ricotta and basil to give that touch of Mediterranean freshness.
There are several variations, for example you can use caciocavallo instead of ricotta or add capers or anchovies. Furthermore, in the Messina area, some traditional recipes hand down the use of baked ricotta instead of the savory one, given that the city's dairy tradition is more linked to that cheese. But they all agree on one thing, that is, the type of pasta to use: always and only short pasta.
The tricks for perfect pasta
The secret of an impeccable pasta alla norm is only one: fresh, genuine ingredients coming directly from the island. Obviously, cultural contamination has led the tradition to change from place to place, but there are some small tricks to make the recipe as faithful and delicious as possible!
In fact, tradition dictates that:
- the aubergines, preferably black and long, should be washed, placed in the colander, covered with salt, with a weight on top, for half an hour, to eliminate excess liquid and the bitter taste
- the aubergines must then be cut into thin slices, cubes or strips and fried strictly in extra virgin olive oil, not in seed oil or animal fats
- the garlic should not be sautéed, but left to cook raw directly in the sauce
- the ricotta to be used must be a salted and seasoned cheese, originally made from sheep
- use short pasta
Ingredients for 4 people)
- 340 g of short pasta, such as rigatoni
- 2 aubergines
- 300 g of peeled tomatoes
- 150 g of salted ricotta
- 2 cloves of garlic
- basil to taste
- to taste fine salt
- to taste coarse salt
- to taste extra virgin olive oil
How to prepare Pasta alla Norma
Follow our recipe step by step, which takes up the original Catanese one:
- Cut the aubergines into strips and let them exude as we recommended and pat them dry with slightly damp absorbent paper.
- Heat plenty of extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick pan and when the oil is hot, fry the aubergines a handful at a time so as not to lower the temperature. At the end of frying, drain the vegetables and place them on a plate lined with absorbent paper to remove excess oil.
- Don't put the pan in the dishwasher right away! Pour the tomato and a couple of cloves of garlic (to be boiled in the sauce), season with salt and cook for about ten minutes, until they start to fall apart
- In the meantime, boil the pasta and drain it, leaving it very al dente. Now you can pour it into the pan with the sauce, adding the aubergines and mix
- Very important, almost final step: grate plenty of salted ricotta over the pasta, sprinkle with chopped basil and stir for a few minutes
- Serve: bon appetit!