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.



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.



Servings: 4 persons

  • 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


  • 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

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:

  • 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.