Thursday, 10 January 2013
Pasta alla Norma is one of those soul-satisfying dishes, filling you up, tingling your taste buds and warming your heart. Whoever Norma was, she’s a genius.
The eggplant caramelises into sweet, soft morsels that soak up the richness of the garlicky tomato sauce.
Before serving, the flavours are lifted with fresh basil and crumbled ricotta salata, a beautiful salted, pressed, dried and aged version of the fresh farm cheese. Its crumbly texture makes it more akin to s condiment, adding a slight salty bite the way parmigiano does in other pasta dishes.
Pasta alla Norma
Based on a recipe from Saveur. Serves 2-3.
1 brown onion, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 large red chilli, finely minced
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
400g canned tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil
Fresh basil, to serve
Ricotta salata, to serve
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 180’C.
2. Chop eggplant into bite-sized cubes and place in a baking dish. Toss with salt, pepper and olive oil.
3. Bake eggplant for around 30 minutes, or until soft.
4. In a saucepan, fry onion in a little olive oil until translucent.
5. Add garlic, fresh chilli and dry chilli and fry until fragrant and softened.
6. Add tomato paste and fry until slightly thickened.
7. Add tomatoes and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and add 1 tablespoon shredded
basil and cooked eggplant. Season to taste.
8. Cook pasta until al dente, drain and add to sauce, tossing to combine.
9. Serve with torn basil and grated ricotta salata.