Authentic Pasta Alla Norma - Serving

This Authentic Pasta Alla Norma Recipe Is Easy And Delicious

If you are looking for a delicious Sicilian pasta dish, this authentic Pasta alla Norma recipe with Eggplant is an easy addition to your list of favorites.

Authentic Pasta Alla Norma - Served

When I travel I like to try local dishes and this authentic Pasta alla Norma recipe brings me back to an amazing trip to Sicily quite a few years back. At that point I didn’t care for eggplant and couldn’t imagine pairing it with pasta, but I chose this pasta dish and I am so glad I did. It expanded my love for eggplant recipes, which includes Caponata and Parmigiana, and it is a great option for a “light” meal. 

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

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Authentic Pasta Alla Norma - Ingredients

Questions About Pasta Alla Norma

What Is The History Of Pasta alla Norma?

This Sicilian favorite comes from the eastern city of Catania, but it can be found all over the island. I was in Palermo when I first tried it and I am so glad I did. Legend has it that it was named in honor of composer Vincenzo Bellini’s masterpiece of the same name.

What Is Pasta alla Norma Made Of?

The key ingredient in this recipe is the eggplant, which is why I added this recipe to this group of eggplant dishes that I am celebrating. In addition, Ricotta Salata cheese is a key ingredient that you really want to try. In addition, of course, there is pasta, but also tomatoes and basil.

Colander – 5 Qt.

OXO makes some great products that really take the home cook into account and this colander is no exception.

Pasta Alla Norma Ingredient Options

  • Ricotta Salata – When I first tried this cheese I was surprised how much I liked it, yet it is hardly ever seen in the US. Ricotta Salata is pressed, salted, dried, and aged. It is firm and used for grating or shaving. Being a Ricotta cheese, it is made with whey and no curds, which is why (I believe) when you add it to this dish it only softens, but doesn’t melt.
  • Tomato Sauce – Usually I prefer using a thin tomato sauce, but the more authentic way to make this is with smaller (cherry or grape) tomatoes quartered and sautéed into a chunky sauce. You will want the texture of the whole tomatoes, but don’t overcook them or you will have a pile of skins.
  • Eggplant Varieties – Commonly in the US there are only the large, bulbous purple (black, really) eggplants that we all know and love, but in Italy, I have seen a wide variety of all different colors and shapes. The good news is that they all work for this dish, so don’t hesitate to pick an eggplant that you have never used before.
  • Olive or Neutral Oil – This recipe calls for olive oil, but since I was frying the eggplant pieces, I chose to use a neutral oil (Peanut in this case) but it isn’t necessary. You do lose a little bit of flavor not using olive oil but I was able to fry the eggplant at a higher temperature. It is totally up to you.
  • Vegetarian Options – I’m not vegetarian, but it has amazed me how many vegetarian options there are when eating in Italy. Traditionally, our family always had a meat sauce, meatballs, sausage or veal with our meals in the US. The reality is that Italians easily can eat a meatless diet, or include meat only sparingly, without missing out on an amazing experience.
Authentic Pasta Alla Norma - Diced

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Authentic Pasta Alla Norma Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Prep Time: 60 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Servings: 6

Pasta Pot with Strainer

Perfect for cooking pasta, this pot can be used to cook a range of meals you will love!


  • 1 lb. (500 grams) of Penne or Spaghetti Pasta
  • 12 ounces (350 grams) Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • 6 ounces (150 grams) of Ricotta Salata Cheese
  • 1 medium or 2 small Eggplants
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 dozen Basil leaves
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
Authentic Pasta Alla Norma - Tomatoes

Cooking Instructions

  1. Purging – Mostly peel the eggplants, cut them into 1/2 Inch (2 cm) cubes, place them in a colander, sprinkle them with coarse salt, cover them with a plate with a weight on top and let them rest for 45 minutes. 
  2. Grate the ricotta salata cheese with a medium-sized grater. 
  3. Rinse the eggplant pieces, dry them, fry them in a pan with plenty of oil until they are golden, drain them, place them on a paper towel and add salt. 
  4. In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil with the peeled garlic cloves. When they are golden, add the tomatoes, season with salt and continue cooking for 15 minutes. At the end, remove the garlic cloves. 
  5. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente, drain and transfer it to a mixing bowl with two thirds of the grated ricotta, the tomato sauce, chopped basil leaves and eggplant. 
  6. Mix completely and serve in a bowl with a little bit of the remaining ricotta on top.
Authentic Pasta Alla Norma - Sauce

Serving Suggestions For Pasta Alla Norma

This is a pretty hearty pasta dish, despite being vegetarian, so I wouldn’t add much to the serving. It should be served hot and topped with the additional Ricotta Salata cheese, which might be a delightful surprise to people unfamiliar with it.

Santoku Knife

The Santoku style knife is my favorite when I’m cooking and Victorinox makes a great one!

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Authentic Pasta Alla Norma - Top With Cheese

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