Sapete cos’è la ricotta salata? Do you know what ricotta salata is? Well, that’s the key ingredient for “Pasta alla Norma” the ultimate and most typical pasta recipe from Catania, my hometown! In case you didn’t know, ricotta salata is a salty cheese mainly used grated or shaved on top of pasta, salads or pizza (si cari, yes my dear, you could also have a “pizza alla Norma”).
Before I get to the recipe, you might find it interesting to know that Norma is a female name and that it is also the name of a very famous Opera by Vincenzo Bellini, a composer who was born in Catania. So, yes, the recipe’s name is a tribute to the great composer. Tanto per farvi capire, just so you understand, Catania’s gorgeous opera house is also named after Bellini. Now, I’m not going to share with you the synopsis of the melodrama, or else I’ll kill your appetite with stories of betrayals, cruel revenge and death, of course (poor Norma, what a tragic life she had!) and you will not want to try my pasta today or ever again!!
Instead, I’ll distract you with a picture of this pasta and with the list of the ingredients. So, here you go.
Ingredients for 4-5 people:
About 3 cups tomato sauce – salsa di pomodoro
One Eggplant – una melanzana
One pound pasta – approx 500 gr. pasta
Fresh basil – basilico fresco
Ricotta salata cheese
Start slicing the eggplant, sprinkle it with salt and place in a strainer for about 40 minutes. (This step is not mandatory, and you can skip it if you don’t have enough time, but that’s helpful to get rid of the bitter taste eggplants may have). Dry your eggplant with paper towel and fry it in abundant oil. Next, bring water to a boil and cook pasta al dente. Drain it, place it in a large bowl, add tomato sauce, fresh basil leaves, the fried eggplant – previously chopped – and last, infine, top with freshly grated ricotta cheese to add that unique flavor. Fantastica! And super easy, facilissima! Let me know if you love it as I do!