Sicilian food: the Pasta alla Norma

13 Jan 2020

There is no summer, for us Sicilians, that has not the flavour of pasta alla Norma.
That’s why, when the sun in Sicily gets hot, and tomatoes and aubergines are ready for harvesting, the succulent Norma pasta dishes enrich our tables.
Tomato and aubergines, only two simple basic ingredients for the most famous dish of Sicilian cuisine, to which are added salted ricotta cheese and fresh basil. A mix of Mediterranean flavors, a few simple, but quality ingredients.

The recipe: ingredients and tips for a perfect Norma pasta

(Ingredients for 4 people)

  • 500 gr of short pasta (rigatoni, macaroni or penne)
  • 1 kg of tomatoes
  • 1 eggplant
  • Ricotta salata cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Peanut oil (for frying)
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sugar
  • basil

For the tomato sauce: cut the tomato and cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes in a pan together with a little oil, garlic, basil, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, 100 gr of water and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
Remove the tomatoes from the heat and put them to the masher
Put the tomato sauce on the heat until you get the right consistency.


Take the aubergines, cut it into strips and put it in a colander, covering them with salt for about 30 minutes. Rinse them, dry them with a cloth and fry in extra virgin olive oil or peanuts oil.


Cook the pasta in salted water and, once cooked, drain it and add it to the tomato sauce.


Serve adding the fried aubergines, basil and salted ricotta on top.

Curiosity about pasta alla Norma, the best known dish of Sicilian cuisine

  • It was named after the famous opera work of the catanese composer Vincenzo Bellini, the Norma. It is said that during a dinner, the Catania playwright Nino Martoglio, enthusiastic about the Norma dish he had eaten, exclaimed “chista è na vera Norma!” (this is the real Norma) to specify the masterpiece of the dish as gorgeous as well as the well-known opera music.
  • September 23 is the national day of Pasta alla Norma, as well as the anniversary of the death of the composer Vincenzo Bellini.