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Caroline Chirichella is the founder of “La Cucina Prima Donna”, a blog dedicated to embracing the Italian lifestyle in every sense of the word. Caroline is also a trained Opera singer, an actress, and a freelance writer. Here is her recipe for Pasta alla Norma.

Pasta alla Norma is a favorite of mine. I love eggplant, so the chance to pair it with pasta and ricotta salata... mmmmmm. And, it doesn’t hurt that it is named after Vincenzo Bellini’s opera, “Norma.” The story goes that in the 19th century, Nino Martoglio, a Sicilian writer, poet and theatre director, was so impressed when he first tasted the dish that he compared it to “Norma,” Bellini’s masterpiece.

It is a classic Sicilian dish from Catania, a city on the east coast of Sicily.

If you haven’t tried Pasta alla Norma, I highly recommend it. What can I say? It’s just a wonderful dish. I hope you enjoy my version, please let me know what you think!

2 medium eggplants- cut into little cubes (you pick exactly how little)

7 tbsp. olive oil

Salt & Pepper (quanto basta!)

Onion- minced

1 tbsp. red pepper

4 cloves of garlic-minced

1 large can of tomatoes (I always use San Marzano tomatoes, in my opinion, they’re just the best!)

Handful of fresh basil

1 pound of rigatoni

1 cup of ricotta salata

Preheat your over to 400 degrees. Put the eggplant in a bowl and drizzle with 4 tbsp. olive oil. Add salt and pepper and toss. Put the eggplant on a baking sheet and roast for around 20 minutes or until lightly caramelized, but not burnt!

Heat the remaining oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, around 10 minutes. Add red pepper and garlic; continue cooking until the garlic softens. Add tomatoes, some of the basil, salt and cook for around 6-7 minutes.

Boil some water for the pasta. Once it is boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente, around 9 minutes. Drain pasta and add to the tomato mix. Stir in the eggplant and toss, add the remaining basil and a little salt. Garnish with ricotta salata.

As always, I LOVE to hear what you have to say! Buon Appetito!