The story goes that this classic dish was created in Catania for the composer of the opera “Norma." I focus on preparing the eggplant(which is really delicious) but also include how to make the sauce.
This recipe focuses on how to prepare the eggplant for Pasta alla Norma but I'll also include the info on how to make the sauce so stay tuned (you'll find that in Step 17).
Cut the eggplant crosswise, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
Lay the eggplant pieces on a cookie sheet or cutting board.
Sprinkle generously with salt. This process helps the eggplant "sweat" out the moisture.
Set aside for 30 minutes while you prepare your sauce (see instructions for the sauce in Step 17). You can even leave the eggplant for up to an hour if you want.
Already after 15 minutes, you can see the beads of water forming on the eggplant.
It's kind of hard to see in the photo but by 30 minutes there are lots of droplets on the eggplant.
Now rinse well in cold water.
And quickly pat dry with a cloth or paper towel. I'm patting so fast, the photo is a blur!
Add olive oil to your frying pan and cook the eggplant slices . . .
... until golden brown. (I have the tomato sauce cooking in another pot and the water for the pasta in another.)
Then turn them over and cook on the other side until golden brown.
Drain on a paper towel.
Put in a preheated 400°F oven as you cook the other batches of eggplant, finish up your sauce, and boil your pasta.
For the sauce - sauté onion & garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes & simmer over medium heat until thick, about 30 mins. Season with salt & pepper to taste and a pinch of sugar (I tossed in sausage too).
When the pasta is done, toss with the sauce and surround with eggplant slices. Sprinkle generously with chopped basil and cheese. The eggplant is so incredibly delicious prepared this way! Enjoy!
- 1.0 Eggplant
- Salt as needed for eggplant
- 0.0c Olive oil (more or less)
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- 2.0Tbsp Olive oil
- 1.0 Onion (small or medium)
- 5.0 Garlic cloves (chopped)
- 1.0 Can chopped tomatoes (21-24 ozs.)
- Salt, pepper, sugar (to taste)
- 4.0Tbsp Fresh basil (chopped)
- 4.0oz Grated ricotta salata or
- other strong grating cheese like pecorino
Bay Area, California USA