Typical dish of the Sicilian tradition, there are several theories about the origin of the name. It would seem that to give the name “Norma” to the recipe was Nino Martoglio, the well-known playwright from Catania, who in front of a dish of pasta so seasoned exclaimed: “Chista è ‘na vera Norma!”, to indicate the supreme goodness, comparing it to the masterpiece of the great composer Vincenzo Bellini.
There are several variations of this dish, depending on the area we use different kind of pasta, ricotta infornata instead of ricotta salata, diced aubergines instead of slices etc. Here a recipe we loved..
Serves 4 people
- Peeled tomatoes g 500
- Maccheroni or Penne g 400
- Ricotta salata (Salted ricotta cheese) g 200
- 2 aubergines
- 2 garlic gloves
- 10 basil leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Wash the aubergines, then cut them into 4 mm thick slices vertically. Place them in a colander, covering them, layer by layer, with salt, then cover with a plate and place a weight on them: let them drain for at least half an hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce in a pan, browning the garlic in the oil. Then add the peeled tomatoes and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes. Pass them through a sieve and cook for another 5 mins. Turn off the cooker and add half the leaves of fresh basil.
Rinse the aubergines, then dry them thoroughly with a clean cloth and then fry them in hot but not boiling extra virgin olive oil until golden. Transfer the aubergines onto absorbent kitchen paper to remove excess oil. Then put the pasta in boiling salted water and grate the salted ricotta, putting it aside.
While the pasta is cooking, cut the fried aubergines into strips and transfer them in a pan along with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the sauce in a pan; keep cooking for one minute and then serve the pasta covering it with the remaining tomato sauce, a few slices of whole aubergine, grated salted ricotta, and the remaining leaves of fresh basil.