A Sicilian dish that made me looking high and low for ricotta salata. It’s not easy at all to find this cheese in Haarlem. Not in the neighbourhood delicacies shop, not in the impressive looking special cheese shop, certainly not in any average Albert Heijn or other supermarkets.
We found it by accident at the Italian specialty shop at Nassaustraat when we went looking for 00 flour. So, we finally are able to make pasta alla Norma yesterday.
Ingredients (serving two):
- Half an eggplant/aubergine – cut into wedges, sprinkle with plenty of salt and let it drain for half an hour.
- 1.5 full cup of diced tomatoes (I had used 30 cherry tomatoes)
- 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 1 shallot – finely chopped
- 1-2 teaspoon of chili flakes
- Grated black pepper
- 1 tablespoon (or to taste) of grated ricotta salata
- Olive oil
- Basil leaves
- Water + salt for boiling the pasta
- 120 gram pasta if you have secondi, 160 gram if this is the only dish for the meal
- Fry the egg plants with olive oil till golden brown, set aside. If you find frying too unhealthy, try roasting it in oven.
- Add 2 tablespoon of olive oil into a pan, stir fry the shallot until translucent.
- Add garlic and chili flakes into the pan, do not burn the garlic.
- Add tomatoes into the pan, cook until dry-ish. Turn off the heat.
- Boil the pasta in salted water according to the instruction on the packaging. *1 liter water to 1 tablespoon of salt
- 2.5 minutes before the pasta is cooked, turn on the heat of the tomato sauce pan again. Transfer 3-4 tablespoon of pasta boiling water into the pan together with the ricotta salata and grate some fresh black pepper into the sauce. Mix well. Again, let the sauce dry up a bit.
- Transfer the cooked pasta into the pan and mix well with the tomato sauce.
- Serve with aubergine and basil leaves on top of the pasta. Add more grated ricotta salata if you want to.