Pasta alla Norma

    1 hour 15 min

    Although simple, the flavours in this dish work perfectly together. The salty ricotta cheese, the sweet tomato sauce and the sweet and creamy aubergine. Note the trick of pre-soaking the aubergine to guarantee that it's sweet, without that bitter edge that you sometimes find with aubergines.

    Umbria, Italy
    1 person made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 350g tomato passata, or tomato pasta sauce
    • 1 small bunch basil, finely chopped
    • 1/2 large aubergine, sliced 2cm thick
    • olive oil for frying
    • 500g pasta, large penne preferably
    • salty ricotta cheese, Parmesan or Pecorino to taste
    • salt to taste

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hr15min 

    1. Cook the passata for 30 minutes (as you want a nice thick reduced consistency) before turning off the heat and adding the basil. Meanwhile the aubergine is cut into 2cm thick round slices and soaked in cold, well-salted water for 10 minutes before being rinsed and drained.
    2. Next shallow fry the aubergine, drain the oil on kitchen paper and set aside.
    3. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta; drain.
    4. Combine the tomato sauce with the drained pasta and serve with a couple of slices of aubergine on top then a generous serving of grated salty ricotta cheese. Hey presto, the flavours are amazing.

    Parmesan cheese

    Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.

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