Pasta Alla Norma, A recipe

 It must be Italian week here on the blog. I'm trying to hold on to this holiday feeling as long as possible and preparing a Sicilian classic certainly helps. And it is very tasty.
I learned about this recipe watching Rick Stein (A chef I like) on his Mediterrean escapes visiting Sicily, just before we left. I was already excited about the food we were going to find. The zucchinis and eggplants still look like real homegrown vegetables there, with beautiful colours and shapes.
The pasta alla Norma is originally from Catania, the second biggest city in Sicily and is named after, just as the name suggests,the famous opera lirica La Norma composed in 1831 by Vincenzo Bellino, a musician from Catania.

 For 2 hungry people you will need:

1 eggplant
2 cloves garlic, minced
400g tin of cubed tomatoes
300gr spaghetti
Olive oil
1 tablespoon dried chilli
1 bunch fresh basil
Some grated pecorino
2 tablespoons of ricotta
1. Cut eggplant into matchsticks. Place into a colander, sprinkle through with salt and let rest for 30mins.
 2. Dry eggplant in a clean tea towel.

 3. Start cooking spaghetti in boiling salted water per pack instructions (around 13 mins). 
Open the packaging like a real Italian, by slamming the thing on the counter top. You will see it works.
4. Heat oil in a skillet. Cook eggplant until just softened and browned, not melted (around 5 mins). Set aside.
5. In the same pan, cook garlic for 3 mins. Add cherry tomatoes until simmering. Add eggplant and cook through.
6. Strain spaghetti when ready and toss through sauce with torn basil leaves.
7. Grate some pecorino over the dish and finish with a dollop of salty ricotta

Buon Appetito!
Recipe inspired by Rick Stein

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