Pasta alla Norma

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
  1. Fry the egg plants with olive oil till golden brown, set aside. If you find frying too unhealthy, try roasting it in oven.
  2. Add 2 tablespoon of olive oil into a pan, stir fry the shallot until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and chili flakes into the pan, do not burn the garlic.
  4. Add tomatoes into the pan, cook until dry-ish. Turn off the heat.
  5. Boil the pasta in salted water according to the instruction on the packaging. *1 liter water to 1 tablespoon of salt
  6. 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.
  7. Transfer the cooked pasta into the pan and mix well with the tomato sauce.
  8. Serve with aubergine and basil leaves on top of the pasta. Add more grated ricotta salata if you want to.

About MyTasteHisTaste

Love eating and wine drinking.
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One Response to Pasta alla Norma

  1. Willem says:

    We paired this dish with a South Italian wine, Villa Matilde’s Fiano di Avellino 2010 (Campania region).
    Fiano is a white grape on the fuller side of the taste spectrum, with in its youth an expressive flowery bouquet with a hint of honey, and enough body to take some wood, which is not at all prominent, but just works well with the nice full structure of the wine. The richness helps matching with the salty tasty cheese in this dish and can go with the slight creaminess. Its acidity, enough but not fierce, helps the pairing with the tomatoes. The slight touch of wood matches nicely with the fried aubergine. Villa Matilde makes this wine in a very nice clean style, which provides a lot of joy in its drinking, and helps enhance the pleasure of the aroma and balanced body.
    I can recommend this wine also with simple grilled fresh fish, prepared with for example just sea salt, some lemon juice drops and a dash of fine olive oil. A light fish risotto or stew can do as well, as can grilled shrimp.
    This wine can age around 3 years, which many like – personally I like it most at around 2 years of age.

    Another Villa Matilde wine that I really like is their Greco di Tufo. Great match with lighter pure tomato based pastas and lighter fish dishes, and pasta frutti di mare. I like the white fruit aroma it has, with its medium fullness, and in the version from this wine house its bright crispiness.

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