The traditional Sicilian Pasta alla Norma is one of my favorite pastas in this cold weather….
Yields 4-6 Servings
1 ½ pounds eggplant
½ Olive oil as needed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 or 4 dried chilies
½ cup chopped parsley or basil
½ cup grated ricotta salata or pecorino Romano
Slice the eggplant about ½ inch thick. Cook in olive oil, without crowding, sprinkling with salt and adding more oil as needed. Cook in batches; take your time and cook until the eggplant is nicely browned and soft. Remove to a plate; do not drain on paper towels. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water to boil and salt it.
Turn the heat to medium, add the garlic and chilies, and cook until the garlic colors a little bit. Add the Bellisari’s Calabrian and Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread along with some salt and pepper; cook until saucy but not too dry, stirring occasionally.
Cook the pasta until al dente. While it’s cooking, cut the eggplant into strips and reheat for a minute in the Calabrian sauce. Drain the pasta and toss it with the tomato sauce and the eggplant. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then top with the parsley or basil and grated cheese and serve.