Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pasta Alla Norma


     Situated on the east coast of this beautiful island along the blue waters of the Ionian sea sits a city that has a rocky past; Catania. Glooming high above behind the city sits the great Mount Etna that has destroyed this lovely dwelling many times with its explosive volcanic eruptions. Like the High Priestess of the Druids, Norma, protecting her two offspring from death as a sacrifice to the Gods to rid the city of the Romans, the depth and love of this city is exemplified in the destruction of its streets by Etna as well as the song and performance of the "bel canto" in the opera about the priestess Norma. This traditional Sicilian pasta dish named in honor of her is a perfect example of said depth and love of this culture. Pasta Alla Norma. A delicious grilled eggplant in tomato sauce pasta. Top with some basil and fresh shaved ricotta.
     As the little story above states, Pasta Alla Norma is a true Sicilian dish apparently  created in honor of the Opera Norma. I discovered this dish by watching the show Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel. I had never heard of it before and thought it looked amazing. This dish was fantastic. Quick, simple, and full of flavor. Pasta Alla Norma.
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • Handful fresh basil
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 white onion
  • Ricotta
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/pepper
1. Sliced eggplant into about 1/2 inch thick cuts.
2. On a grill or grill pan over high heat grill the eggplant slices until no longer green and grill marks show.
3. Salt and pepper to taste. Lay aside till ready to place into sauce.
4. Meanwhile in a large skillet drizzle some olive oil and saute diced onion until translucent.
5. Toss in diced garlic and saute until fragrant.
6. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, chopped up fresh basil, and chili flakes.
7. Chop up the eggplant slices into bite size chunks. Place into skillet. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve over small rigatoni pasta with some fresh basil and ricotta shavings.
     This was such a fresh and delicious meal that I am glad I discovered this Sicilian meal.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4+

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