Pasta Alla Norma

pasta alla norma served on a dish

Pasta alla Norma

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traditional, first course Italian
By Massimo Porcelli Serves: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Pasta alla Norma is a great classic of Sicilian cuisine: a simple, very tasty dish that highlights the long, violet aubergines, typical of the island, that reach full ripening in summer Pasta is seasoned with a very simple fresh tomato sauce that must be extremely tasty and velvety, for this reason it is cooked twice and “passed” in a vegetable mill. The sauce is completed with “ricotta salata” (salted ricotta: a variant of the classic ricotta, firmer because it is much saltier), which must be generously grated directly into the dish


  • Eggplant 3 (violet)
  • Red Tomatoes for sauce 1,5 kg
  • Salted Ricotta Cheese 200 g
  • Garlic 2 cloves
  • Basil 1 bunch (leaves and stems)
  • Pasta 400 g



Wash the aubergines, trim and cut them into cubes leaving one, which you will cut into thin slices instead. Arrange the slices on a colander placed on a pot, salt them lightly and let to lose a little of vegetation water (it will take about 15 minutes) which makes aubergines bitter


Wash and chop the tomatoes, put them in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and basil (leaves and stems). Add salt and cook for about 20 minutes


Pass the tomato sauce in a vegetable mill to obtain only the pulp. Heat another extra virgin olive oil in a pan with 2 cloves of garlic, add the pulp and let it thicken for another 10 minutes


Fry the aubergines in abundant extra virgin olive oil at a temperature of 170 ° / 338 F. Cook the slices first (after drying them well on kitchen paper, to prevent from splashing in contact with hot oil) and then the cubes


Cook the pasta and when it is al dente (1 minute before the time indicated on the package) drain it directly in the tomato sauce, add the eggplant cubes, a tablespoon of the frying oil and let it flavor


Arrange on the plate, decorate with the slices of aubergine and complete with a generous amount of salted ricotta that you will grate directly on the plate and that you will bring to the table, so that each diner can add as much as they like


Pasta alla Norma: aubergines, tomatoes, basil and salted ricotta. Four simple ingredients for a really tasty dish that tradition has it invented in Catania, a beautiful city in Sicily, in honor of the first performance of Vincenzo Bellini's opera "Norma", which was a great success and inspired one of the masterpieces of Italian Cooking

ingredients for pasta alla norma: aubergines, tomatoes, basil and pasta

For your Pasta alla Norma you will have to choose excellent ingredients: aubergines, tomatoes, basil and ricotta cheese must be in season and super, super fresh.

slicing aubergines on a chopping board
cutting aubergines in cubes on a chopping board

This recipe requires Ricotta Salata, a typical cheese of Southern Italy and in particular of Sicily, which must be grated directly on the plate

deep fried aubergines

Do not forget to add a tablespoon of the aubergine cooking oil to the sauce. I know, it’s unhealthy but it will add flavor and make the sauce even more velvety.

cutted tomatoes
making tomato sauce
passing tomato sauce in a vegetable mill

How to choose fresh aubergines? Observe and touch: they must have a bright color, and the pulp must be very firm and without bruises. Also check the petiole, which must be a nice dark green

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