I’m writing this recipe post in the midst of the Covid-19 flu epidemic. I never thought that creating and writing recipes would be such an important and useful task during these difficult times. With a lockdown on all restaurants, pubs and cafes, home cooking will be an important part of everyday life for most everyday folk. As
I will have more on time on my hands than usual, so I want to ensure that I’m supplying you guys with plenty of inspiring Italian recipes where you can create delicious dishes using all your basic larder and fridge produce. It may feel a little stressful during these times as you may find it difficult to find an abundance of ingredients. However, it’s times like these where you learn to be resourceful with what you’ve got, learn a new skill and get those creative culinary juices flowing.
The first recipe was a collaboration I worked on later last year. I was approached by the team at Filippo Berio team to not only create recipes using their flavoursome olive oils but to film them for you guys to enjoy.
One of those recipes is a Sicilian classic pasta sauce. Pasta Alla Norma – a pasta dish served in a rich tomato sauce with deep golden fried aubergine and served with a sprinkle of salted Italian cheese and fresh fragrant basil leaves.
It’s one of those recipes that only requires a handful of ingredients, minimal prep, the cooking steps are straightforward and simple making it easy for anyone to re-create. Happy cooking and buon appetito.
Pasta Alla Norma
SICILIAN PASTA ALLA NORMA
Sicilian Pasta Alla Norma (serves 2)
2 tbsp Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
400g peeled tomatoes
200g rigatoni pasta
20g salted Italian cheese (pecorino or parmesan)
Handful of fresh basil
- Dice aubergine and finely chop garlic.
- Add one tbsp of Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil into a frying pan and fry the garlic for 30 seconds.
- Add peeled tomatoes to the garlic and cook for 10 minutes.
- In another pan add one tbsp of Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil to another pan and fry the aubergine until golden brown.
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain the pasta and add it into the tomato sauce, followed by the aubergine.
- Sprinkle with Italian cheese and scatter fresh basil to finish.
For the tomato sauce, it’s always better to use San Marzano, peeled tomatoes, where possible as they have more pulp, and give a lovely flavour and texture. However, any type of tinned tomato will work for this recipe.
When frying the aubergine in the olive oil, add more to the pan if it looks too dry. Also, make sure you don’t crowd the frying pan with the diced aubergine. It can otherwise steam and get soggy, rather than achieve that golden crispy exterior we are looking for. Fry the aubergine in batches if required.
Tube pasta or any short pasta shape that can ‘collect ‘the tomato sauce and aubergine works best with this recipe. For example, penne, rigatoni, tortiglioni, conchiglioni, pennette.