Pasta alla Norma is a traditional pasta dish originating in Sicily, Italy. This classic recipe remains a favourite classic due to its simple ingredients and method, yet delicious flavour that comes from a blend of deep-fried eggplants, tomato sauce, ricotta salata, basil and extra virgin olive oil. According to historians, the name of the dish originated when Italian writer Nino Martoglio yelled “This is a real ‘Norma!’”—he was comparing the pasta to Vincenzo Bellini’s opera Norma—one of the most influential operatic pieces of the 17th century.
*Best served with Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT*
Taste profile: A rich, layered red with lots of plum, chocolate and walnut character. It's full-bodied with chewy yet soft tannins. Flavorful finish.
1 box Barilla® Penne Rigate
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup ricotta salata (aged salted ricotta)
1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 small onion
4 tbsp. EVOO
6 basil leaves
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for frying as needed
- Dice eggplant, season with a pinch of salt and set aside for about 20 minutes to purge any bitter juices. Dredge in flour.
- Heat enough oil in a pan over high heat to completely cover the eggplant. Fry eggplant until golden, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Chop onion and garlic. Heat EVOO in a large pan over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic.
- Add eggplant, crushed tomato, salt and pepper and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with the prepared eggplant sauce.
- Garnish with basil and grated ricotta. Serve hot.