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This dish of fresh pasta with eggplant, tomato sauce and cheese was a favorite of the great Sicilian composer Vincenzo Bellini. It has been renamed after his most famous opera. La Norma.I got this recipe from Vincent Schiavelli, we made it last night and it is the most delicious thing I've eaten in a long time.
- 400 g fresh pasta (4 servings)
- 2 large eggplants
- sea salt
- olive oil (for frying)
- flour (for dusting)
- 1 (28 ounce) can plum tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves (peeled and whole)
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 sprigs fresh basil
- black pepper
- 1⁄4-1⁄2 lb cheese (parmesan ect..)
- Peel the egglants. Cut them lengthwise in slices 1/2 inch thick. If slices ar very long cut them in half. Liberally salt each slice and stack them in a shallow dish. Place another dish on top and lightly weight it for instance using a full can of tomatoes. Keep the eggplant in the press for at least two hours. This process will drain out the acidic liquid which causes the eggplant to taste bitter and act like a sponge when frying.
- After the time has elapsed, rinse or wipe off the slices and pat dry. Heat 2 inches of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Dust each slice with flor before frying. Cook to a rich golden brown, and drain between brown paper until everything else is ready for assembly.
- While frying eggplant begin the tomato sauce. Pass the can of tomatoes through a food mill to remove any seeds. Place the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a sauce pan and saute the whole garlic until brown, remove the garlic. Add the tomatoes, paste, sugar, basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir well and cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile continue to cook eggplant and keep hot uncovered in a 300' oven. At this time cook your pasta, when it's done toss in a warm serving bowl with some of the sauce and half of the cheese. Arrange eggplant on top. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with cheese.