Penne with Aubergine, Tomato & Basil
This is my version of the classic Sicilian dish of pasta "alla Norma", which is a simple dish of pasta with tomatoes, aubergine and basil. Sicily's famous theatre director, Nino Martoglio, thought it was so exquisite in flavor that it equaled his favorite of all operas, Bellini's "Norma", and so gave his favorite dish the same name. Now... my parents happen to live in the street of the same name as said director! So I dedicate this evenings supper dish to him and his favorite opera! And THAT'S what I call a tribute!
It is also what I call a really, really quick and easy dish- which is my favorite part of this particular story! So let's get cracking and let's make wonderful music together in the kitchen!
This is SO simple! Slice the aubergine thinly and sprinkle with salt. Put it to one side for 9-10 minutes, until the salt begins to draw the bitter juices from the aubergine- then wring them out carefully, rinse them very briefly and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Start your pasta boiling and get yourself a frying pan nice and hot! Ad a splash of olive oil and the aubergine slices and stir immediately, so that the oil gets distributed evenly on all of the slices. keep the heat high and keep tossing and stirring. Add a little chopped garlic, and some finely diced onion, a light dusting of nutmeg and some black pepper and keep on stirring.
By the time the pasta is cooked, the aubergine should be nice and brown. Drain the pasta, but retain a little of the water, and transfer the lot to your frying pan. Add some sliced cherry tomatoes and a good pinch of finely chopped parsley. Stir well together and add a little more olive oil, to give everything a nice glaze and a fresh olive flavor.
Serve with plenty of fresh basil and some god parmesan cheese! There is plenty of drama in opera... I definitely don't need any when it comes to cooking! This is my kinda dish! I think you might like it too!