Pasta Alla Norma, An Original Graziani Family Recipe

Graziani Family Recipe For Pasta alla Norma

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This tasty pasta dish, topped with thin fried eggplant slices, tomato, basil and ricotta salata cheese, contains all the flavors of Sicily. The pasta alla Norma recipe uses a few basic ingredients, so make sure they are good quality. The pasta alla Norma is a great recipe from Sicily, a specialty from the city of Catania dedicated to the opera masterpiece "Norma" by the famous composer Vincenzo Bellini.

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TIPS & ADVICE

To prepare this tasty dish, you can replace spaghetti with other types of pasta, such as penne, tortiglioni, or "cavateddi," shell-shaped dumplings made of flour, patiently made one by one.

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INGREDIENTS

Servings: 4 persons

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  • Eggplants: 2 medium sized
  • Salt: coarse, as needed
  • Ricotta cheese: salata 200 g (salata 7 oz)
  • Tomatoes: canned peeled 500 g (canned peeled 3 cups)
  • Garlic: 2 cloves
  • Spaghetti: (or another pasta shape) 400 g or 14 oz)
  • Basil: 12 leaves
  • Olive oil: extra virgin 4 tbsp
  • Pepper: to taste
  • For frying - Olive oil: to taste

PREPARATION

  • Wash the eggplants, and cut off the stems
  • Cut across into 1/6-inch (4 mm) thick slices
  • Cut a few long slices, too, to use for garnish
  • Layer the eggplant in a colander, sprinkling each layer with coarse salt
  • Then cover with a plate and place a weight on it
  • Leave to drain in this way for at least an hour
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Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce:

  • In a pan, sauté the garlic in oil until golden brown
  • Add the canned peeled tomatoes
  • Let it simmer on a low flame until mushy
  • Then pass the sauce through a strainer and simmer again until thickened
  • Remove from the heat and add half of the fresh basil leaves (~6 leaves)

Return to finish the eggplant:

  • Wash the eggplants under cold running water
  • Pat them dry with a clean cloth
  • Fry in hot oil (not smoking-hot) until golden brown
  • Place the eggplants on kitchen paper to drain the excess oil

Then cook the pasta and prep the cheese and finish the dish:

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  • Boil the pasta in plenty of salted water
  • roughly grate the ricotta salata cheese and set aside
  • While the pasta is boiling cut the fried eggplants into strips (except the reserved long slices)
  • Put the eggplant strips in a pan along with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce
  • Once the pasta is al dente, drain and add to the pan and cook for one minute
  • Put the pasta in the serving dishes and coat with the remaining sauce,
  • Add a few whole eggplant slices, the grated ricotta salata cheese, and the remaining fresh basil leaves to each serving.
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