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Pasta alla Norma

This is my attempt to recreate a dish that takes its name from Vincenzo Bellini's 19th century opera of the same name, and is one of the most famous dishes of Sicily. It is a vegetarian pasta dish made with eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, basil and salted ricotta. 

A plate of pasta with eggplant and tomatoes and garnished with parsley and grated cheese

Pasta alla Norma Recipe

(Serves About 4-6)



  • 10-12 Oz Spaghetti

  • 2 Eggplant (Cubed)

  • 1 Small White Onion (Diced)

  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

  • 28 Oz Crushed Tomatoes (Canned San Marzano’s will be fine)

  • 1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes

  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

  • ½ Cup Water or Vegetable Stock

  • Salt to taste

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 Cup Fresh Italian Parsley (Chopped)

  • ¼ Cup Ricotta Salata (Shredded) - If you can’t find this cheese, you can use grated Pecorino Romano.



  1. Take the cubed eggplant and toss in a little salt and olive oil.

  2. Place on a tray and bake in a 300 degrees Fahrenheit oven until golden brown. You may need to turn them occasionally.

  3. Remove the eggplant from the oven and store until needed.

  4. Add some olive oil to a deep frying pan over a medium heat.

  5. When the oil comes to temperature, add the onions, season with salt and cook until golden and transparent.

  6. Add the minced garlic and cook for two minutes.

  7. Add the red pepper flakes and the dried oregano, and combine.

  8. Add the chopped tomatoes, the balsamic vinegar and the ground black pepper.

  9. Add the stock or water.

  10. Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens.

  11. Add the eggplant cubes and simmer for a further five minutes.

  12. While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

  13. Add the spaghetti and cook for between 8-12 minutes depending on your preferred texture.

  14. Before straining the spaghetti, add two chef spoons worth of the pasta water to the tomato sauce.

  15. Drain the spaghetti.

  16. Add most of the chopped parsley to the tomato sauce, reserving some for garnish.

  17. Check sauce for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper as desired.

  18. You can either plate the spaghetti separately and then add the sauce on top, or you can add all the spaghetti to the pan with the sauce to serve it family style.

  19. Before serving, garnish with a little more parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and as much of the shredded cheese as you prefer.

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