Spaghetti Alla NormaRecipe By: 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)
Directions Yield: Makes 8 Appetizer Servings
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.