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 gloomiest days. One of the most loved and popular dishes in the history of our Region: pasta with tomato sauce 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 salted one, given that the dairy tradition of the city is more closely linked to that cheese. But everyone agrees on one thing, that is the type of pasta to use: always and only short pasta.
The tricks for a perfect pasta alla norma
There is only one secret to an impeccable pasta alla norma: 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 has it that:
- the aubergines, preferably black and long, should be washed, put in a colander, covered with salt, with a weight on top, for half an hour, to eliminate the excess liquid and the bitter taste
- the aubergines are then 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 fried, but left to cook raw directly in the sauce
- the ricotta to be used must be a salted and seasoned cheese, originally from sheep
- use short pasta
Ingredients for 4 people)
- 340 g of short pasta, like rigatoni
- 2 eggplants
- 300 g of peeled tomatoes
- 150 g of salted ricotta
- 2 cloves of garlic
- basil to taste
- fine salt to taste
- coarse salt to taste
- extra virgin olive oil to taste
How to prepare Pasta alla Norma
Follow our recipe step by step, which takes up the original one from Catania:
- Cut the aubergines into strips and let them exude as we have recommended and dab them 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 one handful at a time so as not to lower the temperature. At the end of the frying, drain the vegetables and place them on a plate lined with absorbent paper to remove the excess oil.
- Do not put the pan in the dishwasher right away! Pour the tomato and a couple of cloves of garlic (to boil in the sauce), add salt and cook for about ten minutes, until they start to fall apart
- In the meantime, boil the pasta and drain it, leaving it al dente. Now you can pour it into the pan with the sauce, add the aubergines and mix
- Very important, almost final step: grate plenty of ricotta salata on the pasta, sprinkle with chopped basil and stir for a few minutes
- Serve: bon appetit!