Monday, July 10, 2017

Mario Batali's Pasta alla Norma & Meletti Sambuca

By: The Food Hunter

Pasta alla Norma, a traditional Sicilian dish found on just about every menu in Sicily, is a hearty pasta that is easy to fall in love with. It combines the perfect balance of eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese to create a satisfying vegetarian meal. The version below is from Mario Batali, and I think it is perfect.

Serve this followed by a nice glass of Meletti Sambuca for a true Italian Experience.

Mario Batali's Pasta alla Norma

6 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Red Onion (thinly sliced)
2 pounds small to medium Eggplant (cut 1/4-inch cubes)
Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
1 pound Penne
Basic Tomato Sauce (see recipe below)
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Cheese
10 fresh Basil Leaves (roughly torn)
8 ounces fresh Ricotta
8 ounces Ricotta Salata (for grating)

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cook penne 1 minute less than the package instructions and drain.

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and season with salt. Saute for a few minutes until tender. Stir in the eggplant and allow to cook for 3 minutes without moving. Stir the mixture and then add the cooked noodles and some basic tomato sauce just to coat the noodles. Add freshly torn basil leaves, grated pecorino and a few drizzles of olive oil and toss to combine.

In a medium bowl whisk together the fresh ricotta with a few tablespoons of pasta water to loosen. Serve the pasta with large dollops of the fresh ricotta and freshly grated ricotta salata.

Yield: 4 cups

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Salt, to taste

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve.

This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.


  1. Meals like this are pure comfort for me!! Love it!

  2. Pasta Norma has to be one of my favourite Italian dishes... delicious ♥

  3. I've been thinking about this recipe... We love eggplant, and this looks absolutely wonderful!