Our Pasta alla Norma tries to be as similar as possible to traditional recipes. For us it's a must to use only fresh Italian ingredients. We start cutting the eggplants into medium size cubes that we then fry in extra virgin olive oil. We put them aside after they are done frying. Alternatively, for a lighter version, you can bake eggplants in the oven for twenty minutes at 170 degrees seasoned with olive oil and salt.
ingredients for two:
180 gr. Paccheri di Gragnano
280 gr. tomato sauce
100 gr. eggplants
50 gr. cherry tomatoes
50 gr. Fresh cow's milk Ricotta
20 gr. salty Ricotta
20 gr. Grana Padano
5 leaves of fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Then you need to prepare the tomato sauce, using the ingredients that most meet your tastes. At Lounge Cafè Italiano we like to enrich Paccheri alla Norma with simple ingredients that make the sauce rich and remind us of flavors from home: white onion, garlic, celery, carrots, marjoram and basil.
While the pasta is cooking in boiling water, we prepare the sauté. In a pan heat the extra virgin olive oil and sauté the cherry tomatoes cut in half. Once the tomatoes are wilted, add the tomato sauce, cooked eggplants and three basil leaves. Let it cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
Warning: do not overcook the pasta while preparing the sauce!
When it is still "al dente", drain and add it to the sauce in the pan, stirring everything with Grana Padano. Let the sauce dry - but not too much - and remove it from the heat. Now you can add the ricotta, trying not to incorporate it completely into the sauce so as not to confuse the flavors of the ingredients.
Lay down our Paccheri alla Norma on a warm plate decorating with plenty of salty Ricotta, two basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil.
Last tip: if your cherry tomatoes are too acidic, try the "datterino" ones, which are usually much sweeter.