Recipe of the Week: Pasta alla Norma

This week, Captain Create was gifted an eggplant from a neighbor’s garden. What in the world do you do with an eggplant?! The Italians have lots of great ideas, because eggplants grow really well there. From grilled slices, to layers in lasagna, to crispy fritters, eggplant is part of Italian summer cuisine almost as much as the tomato! These tasty, and healthy summer veggies can be purple or white, and are full of tasty vitamins and fiber. Asian varieties are long and skinny, but the type we are using this week are big and purple. They have tiny spines on the stem, so watch out, and be sure to peel the purple skin mostly off, because its tough and chewy. Eggplants are full of tiny seeds, but don’t worr, you can eat them and they don’t taste like anything.

In Sicily, they make Pasta alla Norma, or pasta in the style of Norma. This easy to make dish is basically roasted eggplant in red sauce over any pasta shape you like. It is usually topped with an Italian cheese called Ricotta Salata. It is a harder and saltier version of the soft Ricotta used in lasagna and cannolli. If you can’t find it in the cheese section, you can use another salty cheese like Asiago, Parmesan, or even Cotija cheese instead.

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