Eggplant, tomatoes, basil, and ricotta salata – these four ingredients are the fundamentals of Pasta Alla Norma, a dish that originated in Catania, a city on Sicily’s East coast.
Pasta Alla Norma is one of Sicily’s most epic pasta dishes. A recipe simple in ingredients but oh so tasty and rich in history. But you won’t only find just in Sicily. Trattorias up and down the peninsula feature it on their menus, and it’s not uncommon to find Pizza alla Norma on gourmet pizzerias celebrating some of Italy’s iconic ingredients and the green red and white colours. The lore of its origin goes back to a 19th-century composer, Vincenzo Bellini.
So, where did the name Norma come from? It’s said that Catanese composer, playwright, and poet Nino Martoglio (1870 -1921) was so impressed by the pasta that he called it Norma after fellow Catania native Vincenzo Bellini’s opera. Legend says that Martoglio exclaimed, “Chista è ‘na vera Norma!” (This is a true Norma!) Another tale dates back further, stating that the pasta was created for Norma’s opening night, which premiered on December 26, 1831.
1 large Eggplant
2 cloves of garlic
½ a bunch of fresh basil , (15g)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 chopped onion
2 x 400 g tin of quality plum tomatoes
250g The Italian Place Maccheroncini
100g Ricotta Salata
extra virgin olive oil