Thursday 10 January 2013

pasta alla norma

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 eggplant/aubergine
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
Olive oil
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.


  1. Yum, this looks like my kind of dish! I actually make a rather similar sauce with lots of spices to go with a Morrocan chicken recipe.
    I love your blog and have been following it for a long time but I never posted before somehow.
    Thanks for this good-looking recipe!

    1. i'm glad you finally said hello!

      the sauce would certainly work with some harissa or other spices and used to bake chicken or fish, just like a tagine.

  2. Looks really tasty, and simple. Where do you find ricotta salata - in the supermarket?

    1. i spot it every now and then in some delis. and of course specialty cheese shops often sell it (eg formaggi ocello in sydney).

  3. Gorgeous dish :) so simple and flavourful


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