Thursday, 28 July 2011

My take on Pasta alla Norma

I first ordered Pasta alla Norma at a little Italian Restaurant off the Blvd. Saint-Germain in Paris and instantly fell in love with it...soft aubergines stewed in tomato sauce and topped with ricotta cheese (at least I think it was soft ricotta).  Aubergines are something that I am forever trying to make taste great at home (when I have the courage and time) but more often than not they tend to taste better (for me) when cooked in a when we go out for Indian, Chinese, Italian...I often order something with aubergines.  

Last week I made a salad with aubergine and last night I tried my hand at my own version of Pasta all Norma, substituting the ricotta for goats cheese.  

Please forgive the splatters on the side of the bowl...I barley had time to snap this pic...I was starving! 

My Norma sauce is made by sautéing half a chopped onion in olive oil until soft, ( I've started adding a Tbsp or two of boiling water from the pasta pot to the onions at this is supposed to help break them down...I've been watching Lidia Bastianich on Food Network and she always adds some water to the onions) then in with half an aubergine cut into little cubes (spongey middle bit cut off) and a pinch of chili flakes, and fry that (stirring, stirring) for about 5 mins until soft and just starting to turn golden.  Then in with half a tin of chopped tomatoes and a pinch of sugar, and simmer until the aubergine is nice and soft (I usually add a few Tbsp of pasta water now and a again as the sauce cooks down).  While the sauce is simmering I cook the pasta, and just before it is ready to come together I stir in about 50g of soft goats cheese and a handful of basil leaves.  The goats cheese makes the sauce really creamy and gives the sauce that little know....that zing that goats cheese has.  


  1. I love all the ingredients in this and I sometimes forget about the tried and true Italian pasta recipes. I like the tip about cutting off some of the spongey eggplant, don't know why I never thought of that!

  2. That sounds divine. I will give it a go soon. My mouth is watering thinking of it. I have used aubergine and tomatoes in a curry or a Aubergine Parmigiana, but not pasta and now I am thinking, why not?

    ps could you email me about the next cake event. Would like to get through to one.


  3. Pasta alla Norma is a new one on me, but this looks delicious and well worth a try - the combination of aubergine and goats' cheese sounds very yummy!


  4. I never knew that, I must try adding water to onions! Your Pasta looks lovely, the goats' cheese is a great touch.

  5. Oh, this sounds and looks delicious! Thanks for the tip on the onions! I love getting those helpful hints!

  6. Lovely pasta dish. I love aubergines and goats cheese. So Yummy!

  7. This sounds delicious - great name too! Like you I keep trying to find ways with aubergine but never quite get to how they taste in restaurants so I'll definitely be giving this a go. I've skyplussed Lidias Italy too so I'll look out for her toptips!

  8. Sue...I think it was Jamie Oliver who suggested the cutting off of the spongey bit..God bless him.

    Jac...thought you would like it! I'll email you :)

    Seren...I really love it, let me know if you try!

    A Trifle...When Food Network showed up on my freeview after the switchover I was so happy...and I have learnt a few little things! Right now goats cheese is my go to cheese....

    OBaCS...I think that the water helps...

    Michael...thanks!! it was so yummy, I licked the bowl!

    freerangegirl...Thanks for your comment! I don't know what it is with aubergine...but i have to say this did taste great!! :)