Thursday, April 25, 2024

Pasta alla Norma – A Couple Cooks


Pasta alla Norma is a signature Italian dish of pasta and eggplant! A tangy pink sauce and salty cheese full this Sicilian masterpiece.

Pasta alla Norma

On the lookout for a pasta recipe to impress? Attempt the signature Italian dish Pasta alla Norma! This spectacular recipe hails from Sicily and like all traditional Italian dish, it’s all about elegant simplicity. Sauteed eggplant tastes savory and meaty towards a tangy tomato sauce, al dente pasta and salty ricotta salata cheese. The mix of flavors and textures is a real masterpiece! Merely known as “la Norma” once you order it in Sicily, it’s a standout Italian pasta that can impress everybody.

What’s Pasta all Norma?

Pasta alla Norma is an Italian pasta dish product of eggplant, tubular pasta, tomato sauce and ricotta salata cheese. It’s the specialty within the metropolis of Catania in Sicily, nevertheless it’s served all around the island.

Why Norma? (That’s what we stated.) It’s stated to be named after the opera Norma by composer Vincenzo Bellini. Apparently an Italian author tasted the pasta and stated it was “an actual Norma,” an 1830’s means of claiming it was a masterpiece. The title caught and it’s been round to this present day.

Pasta alla Norma

Elements in Pasta alla Norma

This Pasta alla Norma recipe is impressed by some tales set in Sicily we’ve been having fun with these days (the e-book From Scratch by Tembi Locke and naturally the HBO present White Lotus!). So we set about to recreate this iconic dish to get a bit style of the nation. We tailored our model from this genuine Sicilian recipe.

Like all Italian pasta, the genius of La Norma is its simplicity. Right here’s what you’ll want for pasta alla Norma:

  • Eggplant
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Recent parsley and basil
  • Crushed canned tomatoes
  • Oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pasta
  • Ricotta salata cheese
  • Pecorino Romano cheese

Why you want ricotta salata

What’s ricotta salata cheese, and is it needed for this recipe? Properly, this particular kind of cheese is iconic for the dish.

  • Ricotta salata is a Sicilian model of ricotta that’s pressed and aged. It’s nothing like smooth contemporary ricotta, which could be very gentle and creamy. Ricotta salata is tough like Parmesan cheese and must be grated so as to add to a dish. It has a novel salty, briny taste.
  • What are substitutes? When you can’t discover it, the Greek cheese Mizithra is a superb substitute. Don’t use contemporary ricotta, which is smooth and creamy as a substitute of salty and aged.
  • Can’t discover both? Use feta cheese for the same taste, or omit the ricotta salata and simply use Pecorino Romano cheese.

We’ve tried each ricotta salata and Mizithra cheeses and so they’re extremely shut in taste and texture. This cheese is crucial in the event you’re attempting to recreate the Sicilian dish, however don’t let it dissuade you from making the recipe completely. It’s almost as tasty with merely Pecorino Romano because the garnish!

Pasta alla Norma

Prepare dinner the pasta to al dente

Crucial factor to recollect when making Pasta all Norma? Prepare dinner your pasta to al dente! This implies “to the chew” in Italian: ideally when it’s tender with a small white speck inside once you chew into a chunk. There’s nothing worse than smooth, rubbery pasta. Listed here are a number of ideas for the proper al dente pasta:

  • Boil the pasta a couple of minutes lower than indicated on the bundle directions. Usually bundle directions make for overcooked pasta.
  • Begin style testing early. Begin style testing and cease cooking when the pasta is simply tender however you possibly can nonetheless see a small white speck inside.

And that’s it! Head to the recipe beneath to strive Pasta alla Norma: and tell us what you assume! We’d love to listen to from you: particularly in case you are Sicilian or have sampled this dish in Sicily.

Extra pasta recipes

Need extra tasty Italian pasta recipes and pasta sauces? Listed here are a number of extra concepts:

This Pasta alla Norma recipe is…



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Pasta alla Norma is a signature Italian dish of pasta and eggplant! A tangy pink sauce and salty cheese full this Sicilian masterpiece.

  • 1 massive eggplant (about 1 ½ kilos), chopped into 3/4” inch items
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced 
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped contemporary parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped contemporary basil, plus extra for garnish
  • 28 ounce can top quality crushed tomatoes, resembling San Marzano 
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano 
  • Freshly floor black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar, optionally available
  • 12 ounces massive tubular pasta (rigatoni or we used calamarata)
  • ¼ cup grated ricotta salata*, to serve
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, to serve

  1. In a big skillet, warmth 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium warmth. Add the eggplant and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Sauté for 7 to 10 minutes till browned and tender, stirring typically so the eggplant doesn’t stick (the pan can be fairly dry, however that is as anticipated). Take away the eggplant to a bowl.
  2. Scale back the warmth to low and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, together with the garlic, parsley and basil and cook dinner for 1 to 2 minutes, till aromatic. Add the tomatoes, oregano, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly floor black pepper. Deliver to a simmer and simmer quarter-hour, till the flavors meld. Stir in ¼ teaspoon the sugar. Add within the eggplant simply earlier than serving.
  3. In the meantime, carry a big pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta to al dente and drain. Add the pasta again to the pot with a drizzle of olive oil. Pour the sauce with eggplant over the pasta and gently toss to mix. Add salt and pepper to style.
  4. Serve topped with grated ricotta salata cheese, grated Pecorino Romano, and chopped contemporary parsley and basil.


*Ricotta salata is a Sicilian aged ricotta cheese with a tough texture much like Parmesan and a salty taste like feta cheese. When you can’t discover it, the Greek cheese Mizithra is a superb substitute. Don’t use contemporary ricotta, which is smooth and creamy as a substitute of salty and aged. When you can’t discover both, feta cheese has an analogous taste: or you possibly can omit and easily use Pecorino Romano cheese.

  • Class: Important dish
  • Methodology: Stovetop
  • Delicacies: Italian
  • Weight loss plan: Vegetarian

Key phrases: Pasta alla Norma


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