Dinner

Pasta alla Norma- Unique Sicilian Flavors in a Single Dish

Last year, I went to Sicily with my husband. We stayed in a hostel in the small town called Alcamo, about 60km away from Palermo, the capital of Sicily. I really can`t find the exact words to describe all that beauty. We tried various Italian dishes and most of them were made with extra virgin olive oil. Italian olive oil has a beautiful dark green color accompanied by an amazing herbal aroma and unique grassy flavor. It is completely different from the olive oil we purchase here. Of course, we couldn`t miss the Italian pasta. I tried several different pasta meals but this one really got me impressed.  We went for a dinner in a restaurant in the center of Palermo. While going through the menu, I spotted this meal. In fact, it was the name of the dish that got me impressed so I ordered it without thinking twice. The meal itself turned out million times more fascinating than its name.

Well, this recipe reveals something about Sicilian history. The name Norma comes from a famous opera written in the early 19th century by Vincenzo Bellini from Catania, Sicily. So, a chef from Catania decided to name his eggplant and pasta recipe after this opera. Pasta alla Norma is originally made with eggplant so leaving it out just changes the whole recipe. Ricotta cheese is another important feature but I used feta cheese as that was my kids` choice. It was still heavenly tasty.

Prep time: 45 min; Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 eggplant, baked and chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 lb cooked rigatoni
  • 1 cup water from cooked rigatoni
  • 1 oz basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 oz feta cheese

Method of preparation:

  1. Cut the eggplant in half and bake for 25 min at 180°
  2. Cook the pasta.
  3. Remove eggplant from oven and cut into pieces.
  4. In a lightly greased skillet, place all the ingredients except cheese.
  5. Stir well.
  6. Add 1 cup water from cooked rigatoni.
  7. Fry for 10 minutes over medium-low heat until all the ingredients become tender.
  8. Remove from heat and top with cheese.
  9. Serve warm.

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