We’re going Italian today! Pasta Alla Norma is a signature Sicilian dish made with ricotta salata cheese, garlic, and eggplant. The dish was named in the 19th century by a Sicilian theater director, Nino Martoglio, after the well known opera, Norma. Nino felt the dish was as perfect as the opera and the name stuck.
Ricotta salata varies from regular ricotta in taste, ricotta salata being saltier and not as sweet. Either will do fine for this dish, but the ricotta salata adds a unique flavor to the dish. Feel free to pair this pasta dish with a piece of grilled chicken breast or salmon.
Pasta Alla Norma
Prep and Cook time: 30 minutes
- 6 baby eggplants or 2 Japanese eggplants, cut into ¾ inch cubes (4 cups)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved (2 cups)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tbs)
- 8 oz. mezzi rigatoni or penne pasta
- 3 oz ricotta salata, crumbled
- ¾ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss eggplants with 1 tbs. oil on baking sheet. Roast 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender, turning halfway through.
- Heat remaining 1 tbs oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add tomatoes, onion, and garlic and cook 8 minutes or until tomatoes are juicy.
- Cook mezzi rigatoni according to package directions. Drain, and toss in pot with eggplants, tomato sauce, and ricotto salata. Serve garnished with basil.