Some of the things I enjoy are pasta, wine, cheese, movies and the website Eliot’s Eats. What do all those have in common? Well, I’ll tell you.
Debra over at Eliot's Eats is hosting the Food ‘n Flix event this month. She selected the movie Moonstruck. Her announcement post is HERE. Check it out because there is still time to join in if you’d like.
This is an old movie but the Italian American households are well represented with the food scenes and bantering. Growing up south of Philly I was always invited into the homes of my childhood friends. I was looked after, fussed over, fed and fed some more. I listened to the conversations I couldn’t understand but loved the cadences of the Italian language as the family had a passionate discussion. And there was music…always music playing somewhere in the house.
See how Ronny courts Loretta.....takes her to the opera.
This brings me back to the subject of pasta again. As I said, I love pasta. That was one of the things that I knew I would miss when we eliminated wheat from our diet. Thanks to Muellers and Tinkyada brands, we can still enjoy flavorful pasta using their gluten free variety.
The dish I am bringing t June's movie event is Pasta all Norma.
Pasta alla Norma is a delicious combination of eggplant, onions, tomatoes, basil and ricotta salata. The savory dish bursts with flavorful vegetables. If you don’t have too big a helping this isn’t too high, calorically speaking. Depends on the amount of cheese you heap onto the pasta and sauce.
Don’t make the mistake of substituting regular creamy ricotta for the ricotta salata. Big difference in the two.
Ricotta salata is a semi-hard salted ricotta cheese which you can gently grate into large peels for the topping. We picked ours up at Whole Foods.
Pasta all Norma
2 large globe eggplants, diced into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
4-6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon-1tablespoon hot chili flakes, according to taste
One 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
2 sprigs fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound pasta of your choice (I used rigatoni)
6-8 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled or thickly grated
Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced for garnish
Place the diced eggplant in a large colander with a plate underneath it and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. Place another plate on top of the eggplant and let stand for 30-45 minutes. Remove the eggplant and dry thoroughly with a paper towel.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and chili flakes for the last minute or two until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and basil sprigs to the saucepan. Bring to a healthy simmer, lower heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer for about 15-20 minutes more, or until sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper if needed.
While sauce is simmering, cook the pasta and the eggplant. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
In a large skillet heat, the 1/2 cup olive oil over medium high heat until almost smoking. Add the eggplant in batches and fry until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
To serve, toss the pasta with the tomato sauce. Top with t
he eggplant. Sprinkle the ricotta salata over the top and garnish with the sliced basil.
If you try it let me know. It's vegetarian but you could easily add meat if you wanted to. Of course, then it wouldn't be Pasta alla Norma. Enjoy!