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Pasta alla norma, the flavors of Sicily

Isone of the symbols of island cuisine, this Catania specialty was made as a culinary homage to the most beautiful work of the famous composer Vincenzo Bellini: the Norma A first course of tasty pasta seasoned with fresh tomato sauce and fried malanzane, as for tradition, cut into slices. But it wouldn’t be pasta alla Norma without the addition of garlic cloves, fresh basil leaves and, of course, a generous grating of strictly Sicilian ricotta salata, added directly to dishes.

INGREDIENTS

Striped celery 500 g

Aubergine (violetta, di Vittoria) 1

Sheep’s ricotta (salty, sicilian) 150 g

Salt till it’s necessary

FOR THE SAUCE

Costoluti Tomato (variety from Catania) 1,5 kg

Garlic 4 cloves

Salt till it’s necessary

1 bunch of basil

FOR FRYING

Extra virgin olive oil till it’s necessary

PREPARATION

To prepare the pasta alla Norma, first wash and dry the aubergine well. Cut it into slices of about 8 mm and transfer them to a colander.

Sprinkle them with salt and leave to drain for at least 15 minutes In the meantime, take care of the tomatoes: wash them by removing the stalk and cut them in half.

Transfer to a pan with a pinch of salt, 3 cloves of garlic and a bunch of basil.

Cook for half an hour without adding anything over low heat, the tomatoes will release their water After 30 minutes, transfer the tomatoes in a very fine-meshed vegetable mill

You can rinse the aubergines well, dab them with kitchen paper. Then pour the extra virgin olive oil into a high-sided pan and bring it to a temperature of about 170-180 °. Dip a few slices of aubergines at a time in the oil and turn them from time to time, just golden, drain with tongs and transfer them to a tray lined with kitchen paper and continue to fry, in the meantime place a pot full of water on the fire, which will be used for cooking the pasta.

When the sauce is quite thick, remove the basil, add a tablespoon of the oil from the aubergines and a drizzle of raw oil

Cook the pasta, drain and transfer it to the sauce.

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