Our friends at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon, New Jersey, share recipes created in their Culinary Arts program on their blog, Our Daily Bread. This recipe is printed here with permission from MHCA Culinary Arts teacher Frank LaMendola.
Pasta alla Norma is a classic dish of Sicily. The lore of its origin goes back to a 19th-century composer, Vincenzo Bellini. He was born in Catania, Italy, and was an artist of great renown who composed many operas. One of his most famous was called “Norma.” Supposedly a chef from Catania named his creative pasta dish after the opera.
Pasta alla Norma
1 ½ pounds eggplant
Olive oil as needed (at least 1/2 cup)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 or 4 dried chiles
1 ½ pounds tomatoes, chopped (canned are fine; about 1 can)1
1 lb rigatoni or penne
½ cup chopped basil
½ cup grated ricotta salata
In a saute pan add a little olive oil and saute diced eggplant. Lightly salt and continue to cook.
Remove from pan and saute garlic in olive oil until golden brown and fragrant. Return eggplant to pan and saute for another 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and continue cooking for about 7 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil and ricotta salata cheese. Toss and serve immediately.
Copyright 2020 Culinary Arts students at Mary Help of Christians Academy
About the author: Mary Help of Christians Academy, located in the Diocese of Paterson, is a private Catholic secondary school for young women. It is conducted by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, in collaboration with laypersons committed to Catholic education.