Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pasta Alla Norma باستا ألى نورما (بالباذنجان)

The pasta norma style is a first course of Sicilian origin, a specialty from the city of Catania dedicated to the opera masterpiece by the famous composer Vincenzo Bellini: the "Norma".
This tasty pasta dish, seasoned with thin fried eggplant slices, tomato, basil and salted ricotta cheese, contains all the flavours of Sicily.
The pasta norma style is a recipe prepared with few simple ingredients, which must be therefore of first quality.
  1. Wash and cut the stems off the eggplants, then slice them widthwise into 1/6-inch thick slices; cut also a few slices lengthwise which you'll use to decorate the plate at the end. 
  2. Place them into a colander and sprinkle every layer with coarse salt, then cover everything with a plate and place a weight on it: let them drain in this way for at least an hour.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the tomato sauce by browning the garlic with oil in a saucepan; add the canned peeled tomatoes.
  4. Simmer them on a low flame until mushy, then pass them through a sifter and simmer them again to thicken; once removed from the heat, add half of the fresh basil leaves.
  5. Wash the eggplants under cold running water, then dry them with a clean cloth and fry them in hot oil (not boiling) until golden brown.
  6. Place the eggplants on kitchen paper to drain the excess oil. Then put the pasta to boil in plenty of salted water and grate the ricotta cheese roughly, keeping it aside.
  7. While the pasta is boiling, cut the fried eggplants into strips (except the longer slices which you'll need to decorate the plates). 
  8. Put the eggplant strips into a saucepan together with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce and once the pasta is al dente, drain and add it into the saucepan; sauté everything for one minute, then put the pasta into the dishes and coat with the remaining sauce, some whole slices of eggplant, the grated salted ricotta cheese, and the remaining fresh basil leaves.