This dish originates from Catania and is named after Vincenzo Bellini’s opera Norma.
3–4 medium sized eggplant
600g of passata, or finely chopped ripe tomatoes that have been peeled and de-seeded
Grated salted ricotta
1–2 cloves of garlic cut in half
Extra virgin olive oil
600g of short pasta like penne or rigatoni
Cut the eggplant into 1cm cubes and add some salt. Place in a colander with a weight on top and place somewhere where the liquid can drain. Leave for an hour.
Fry the eggplant in batches until well browned and drain on absorbent paper.
Heat some oil in a large frypan, add the garlic and fry gently to release the flavor into the oil. Add the passata, 6–7 basil leaves and some salt to the frypan and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the eggplant and gently cook for another 5 minutes.
Bring some salted water to the boil and add the pasta.
Drain the cooked pasta and add to the frypan and mix for a few seconds.
Plate up and serve sprinkled with the grated ricotta and a few fresh basil leaves.