Thursday, 31 May 2012

Linguine Alla Norma

Pasta alla norma is a classic pasta dish from Catania in Sicily, a city on the east coast of of the island. It's made with tomatoes, fried aubergine, grated ricotta salata cheese (but I use Parmesan), and basil.

It was supposedly named for the opening night of the opera Norma by Vincenzo Bellini.

The Recipe

1 large, firm Aubergine
extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 pinch dried chilli
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
few torn basil leaves
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tin chopped plum tomatoes
salt and pepper
250g dried spaghetti
Parmesan cheese, grated

Cut the Aubergine  into small cubes, about 1.5cm cubes.

In a large nonstick pan add a little oil over a medim heat. Fry the  aubergine adding a little extra oil if you need to. Toss so the oil coats all the pieces of aubergine and then sprinkle with some of the dried oregano. Turn the pieces of aubergine until golden on all sides.

Add the dried red chili then turn down the heat a little and add a little oil and the  garlic. Stir so everything gets evenly cooked, then add a swig of white wine vinegar and the tomatoes. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, then check seasoning. Add half the torn basil leaves to the sauce, and toss around.

While the sauce is simmering cook the spaghetti in a pan of salted boiling water and cook to al dente. Drain the spaghetti in to a colander, reserving a little of the cooking water, and put it back into the pan.

Add the sauce and a little of the cooking water and toss together back on the heat. Taste, check the seasoning, then plate up. Any sauce left in the pan can be spooned over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining basil, grated Parmesan, and oil.

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