We The Italians | Italian cuisine: Pasta alla Norma

Italian cuisine: Pasta alla Norma

Italian cuisine: Pasta alla Norma

  • WTI Magazine #115 May 19, 2019
  • 552

My Pasta alla Norma is contemporary interpretation of classic cuisine. The modern era is characterized by a return to vintage even in the gastronomic field. Genuine and authentic flavors, simplicity and tradition are more often sought after in the recipes; a touch, however, of modernity and creativity is also added.  

Cuisine is history and culture that reflects changes over time. More and more classic recipes are reinterpreted to make each dish unique, innovative and up-to-date. Italian cuisine, while remaining faithful to its traditions, is going through a modern revival to reflect a 21th century lifestyle, recent nutritional discoveries, as well as ingredients and cooking techniques belonging to foreigner cultures. Do not be afraid to reinterpretate and experiment. 

Our cuisine boasts recipes that are handed down from generation to generation, recipes that make the history of the Italian cuisine like this Pasta alla Norma that recalls all the flavor and tradition of beautiful Sicily, land of sun and extraordinary culinary culture. This recipe is my modern variation of the traditional one, in honor of the famous opera La Norma, composed by the Catanese Vincenzo Bellini. I use cherry tomatoes and purple eggplant that is more compact and less bitter than the black variety. In addition, eggplant is not drained with salt or fried but sauteéd directly in the pan. Last but not least, the quantity of pasta follows the rules of The Mamma Mia! Diet – yes, complex carbohydrates but in moderation. 

The preparation is faster, the dish is lighter but remains appetizing and tasty. 


Total preparation  time: 20 minutes   Cooking time: 10-12 minutes   Servings: 4


280 g (10 oz) penne or mezze penne pasta

1 large eggplant, round and purple

2 garlic cloves

450 g (2 pounds) cherry tomatoes

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

100 g (3.5 oz)  ricotta salata cheese (from cow's milk)

Fresh basil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper 


  1. Wash the eggplants under cold water. Cut off the ends and slice vertically into thick slices (8 mm, 1/3 inch). Cube the slices into, 1 cm (½ inch) per side.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant cubes and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Wash the tomatoes, cut in half.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta for about 10-11 minutes until al dente (follow the cooking time on the package).
  5. While the pasta is cooking, in a large nonstick skillet sauté the garlic until golden brown with 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Remove the garlic. Add the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the tomatoes soften. Add the eggplant cubes and cook for 1 minute to mix the flavors.
  6. Drain the pasta, reserving 40 ml (1 scarce cup) of cooking water. Transfer to the skillet, add the cooking water and toss gently. Serve with grated ricotta and fresh basil.