September 12, 2016

Spaghetti Alla Norma

Recipe: Eric Vellend

Named after the heroine in a Vincenzo Bellini opera, this classic dish features al dente pasta and silky eggplant in a basil-kissed tomato sauce topped with a creamy slice of ricotta.



  • 1 28-oz. can Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 1 sprig basil, leaves only
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 2 eggplant (about 1lb. each), trimmed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for brushing)


  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti, preferably Italian
  • 1⁄2 lb. firm ricotta
  • Basil leaves (for garnish)


Yield: Makes 8 Appetizer Servings

  1. To make sauce, empty tomatoes into a medium bowl. Gently crush tomatoes with your hands. In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chili. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. (Do not let garlic brown.) Add tomatoes and basil. When it starts to bubble, adjust heat to gentle simmer. Cook, stirring, until thickened, 25 minutes. Add sugar, salt and pepper.
  2. Quarter eggplants lengthwise. Cut out and discard spongy cores. Cut into finger-size pieces. Place in a colander and season generously with salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Preheat broiler to high. Line heavy-duty baking tray with foil. Brush foil with olive oil. Place eggplant on tray, skin-side-down. Brush eggplant with olive oil. Broil 8″ from heat until brown and tender, 15 to 17 minutes.
  4. To make pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Reheat sauce in a large pot over low heat. Cook pasta according to package. Stir eggplant into sauce. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide among 8 shallow bowls. Top each with a slice of ricotta and basil.

Stacey Brandford


House & Home March 2013


Ashley Denton (food) Joel Bray (prop)