Monday, December 12, 2011

Spaghetti Alla Norma

Pasta Alla Norma is a popular Sicilian dish prepared with eggplants, tomatoes and ricotta salata as base ingredients. Ricotta salata is one kind of cheese made from sheep's milk and very popular across Sicily. But as this cheese is not easily available in Bangalore, I have substituted it with parmesan cheese. I chose to cook the dish with spaghetti, but as alternative options you may use penne or gemelli pasta also.

Ingredients :( serving 2)

ü  1 or 2 medium eggplants (cut into thin strips like French fries)

ü  300 gm Spaghetti

ü  3 - 4 medium tomatoes

ü  Few stalks of celery or basil leaves (turned into paste) 

ü  2 tsp of jalapeno peppers dipped in vinegar

ü  50 gm parmesan cheese, grated (you may add more if you like it cheesy)

ü  1 tsp black pepper powder

ü  Salt to taste

ü  2 tbsp of tomato sauce

ü  All-purpose flour as per need

ü  5-6 cloves of garlic (diced)

ü  Olive oil for cooking

ü  White oil for frying eggplants

Note: As variations you may use onions, chilli flakes, oregano or other ingredients to spike it up. Traditional Sicilian recipe calls for adding 200 gm cheese at least, but being prone to easy weight gain, I skimped on cheese in my preparation.


1) Cook spaghetti in microwave with 4-5 cups of water till they turn tender. Drain and set aside.

2) Slice the eggplants into thin strips resembling French fries. Sprinkle salt over them. Dredge them in flour and deep fry. (Flour coating prevents the eggplants from absorbing too much oil and also makes them crispier.)

3) Meanwhile, while the eggplants are being fried, make puree out of three tomatoes in a blender and chop the remaining one.

4) Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and sauté. Add tomato puree and chopped tomato. Stir around for few minutes and add 1/2 cup of water. Add celery paste, tomato sauce, black pepper powder, salt, jalapeno peppers and parmesan cheese. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes till gravy comes to a boiling point. Mix in the cooked spaghetti. Stir properly.

4) Lastly fold in the fried eggplants and serve hot.


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