Pasta al a norma

Penne al a Norma

Who was Norma? I guess it is a reference to the Bellini opera but who cares. This is one of the best vegetarian pasta dishes in my opinion. Its easy to do well but also easy to do badly. As with all pasta sauces (and most good food) using minimal ingredients is better than lots.

This simply needs a finely chopped onion, crushed garlic, chopped tomatoes and an aubergine.

The aubergine is the dish and this is where the magic is. I like small dice, no more than a cm cube and slow cook in olive oil (not EVOO) until they are soft and starting to brown. Add the finely chopped onion and garlic. Cook until golden and add the tomatoes. Reduce down a little. Season.

As to pasta shapes with this I like Penne but spaghetti is often used. Make sure to add some pasta water to the sauce – it makes it thicken and adds body.

Add the pasta to the sauce and stir in and coat thoroughly. A grate of parmesan, a splash of EVOO and salt and pepper. (a sprinkle of dried pepper flakes is good but very non-traditional!)

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