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Pasta Alla Norma

Updated: May 16, 2020

Pasta "Alla Norma” is a humble, traditional and justly famous dish. The 19th-century composer Vincenzo Bellini is said to have adored it with such a passion (he ate it for lunch daily in his hometown, Catania) that the dish was eventually named after his opera “Norma.” You make a simple basil-infused tomato sauce, fry eggplant cubes in olive oil, toss both with pasta and shower with grated ricotta salata and toasted bread crumbs. Or do you? Some cooks forgo the crumbs. Some fry large slices of eggplant and lay them over the pasta, or ring the platter with them instead. Either way you slice it, it’s delicious and enjoy this dish with a beautiful armparty to match! Inspired by my favorite pasta dish, shop the "Alla Norma" armparty here!

Enjoy my dads version of "Pasta Alla Norma" below!

Serving Size: 4 people


  • 8 Plum tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt

  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic

  • 1 onion

  • 1/2 cup basil leaves

  • 2 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1 pound uncooked penne rigate

  • 1 1/2 ounces ricotta salata cheese, grated with a Microplane grater (about 1 cup)

How to Make Sauce:

Step 1

-Boil water and blanche tomatoes for about 3 minutes

-Remove tomatoes, peel and remove pulp and seeds and then blend until smooth

-finely chop garlic and onion and sautée until golden brown, then add tomatoes and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

How to make Eggplants:

Step 2

- peel eggplants and cube into 1/2” pieces

- sprinkle with salt and place in strainer covering with a weighted object for about 15 minutes so the dark liquid drains and removes the acidity

-rinse the cubes and pat dry

-in a frying pan bring a light vegetable oil to a boil. Place cubes in pan and fry u til dark golden brown

-when you remove them from

the pan, place them in a plate with a paper towel under to absorb the extra oil

Step 3

-Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions for al dente. -add pasta to boiling water and cook for approx 10 min

-add eggplants and 1/2 cup of grated ricotta salata to the simmering sauce and fold in

Step 4

- when pasta is ready, use a slotted spoon to remove pasta and add to large mixing bowl without completely draining the water

-add in the sauce leaving some aside to top off the plates

-plate the pasta and garnish with sauce, shaved ricotta salata and basil


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