Monday, 23 November 2015

Norma Gets Angry!

Caserecce alla Norma, all'Arrabbiata con Melanzane Perline
Caserecce alla Norma, all'Arrabbiata with Japanese Eggplant

A very basic version of a very basic dish, this "pasta alla Norma" was made a little more special by adding a little fresh pepper and a good pinch of hot chili flakes... and of course by using those beautiful, long, slender, purple eggplants!

Otherwise, the stars of the show were obviously the tomatoes, eggplants, salted ricotta and basil, the signature ingredients of this Sicilian classic... and with such wonderful ingredients, it is no wonder that this dish is destined to be wonderful, right from the start!

The taste of Sicily, the joy and vibrance of good, simple cooking and treat for the taste buds as well as the eyes- what's not to like here?!?!

Deceptively known as Japanese eggplants in the USA, these lovely little finger-thick beauties came from sunny Sicily to cheer up my Winter evening!

To make my 2 plates of pasta, I needed 4 eggplants (or 1 regular sized eggplant), 1 mildly hot, fresh green pepper, 15 little "date" or cherry tomatoes, plenty of fresh basil, salt, pepper, olive oil and chili flakes. 

Garlic would be a good addition, but I prepared mine without... something that my sister and my brother-in-law would welcome! Because trust me- most of our dishes down South use much less garlic, if any at all, than you may think!

And let's face it... garlic or no garlic- there are already a lot of flavors going on in this dish as it is! Am I right- or am I right? wink emoticon

Begin by frying the eggplant, cut in half lengthways and then into bite-sized pieces of around 2", in just a little olive oil.

Fry until the eggplant has soaked up all of the oil and is wonderfully and deeply golden brown, then set to one side and start your pasta boiling before you begin with the tomatoes.

Let the pasta boil for 3-4 minutes before beginning to fry the halved little tomatoes and the thinly sliced green pepper together in a touch of olive oil. Add a tiny pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt and fry until they begin to slightly caramelize and become brown.

Once the pasta is ready, whichever pasta you decide to use, add it to the eggplants and tomatoes and stir or toss thoroughly together. Continue cooking together for a further 2-3 minutes and then get ready to serve!

Add a good sprinkle of chili flakes, a little freshly grated salted ricotta and plenty of fresh basil... drizzle lightly with a last hint of olive oil... and swoon!

Beautiful and tasty- and even more so when it all gets tossed and mingled and all of those flavors combine!

Yes, there is a pretty good chance that you are going to enjoy this too!

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