What does Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma have to do with it? Ask someone who is actually from Catania. Some will mention a beautiful teacher, others Nino Martoglio’s exclamation of delight at its taste. Still others will tell of a company of opera singers who used to request this quick, tasty dish at the trattoria every evening after performing Norma at the Teatro Bellini. It’s a very simple, but flavoursome, first course originating in the city of Catania, usually comprising macaroni seasoned with tomato sauce, fried aubergines, salted ricotta and basil.
Preparation: cut the aubergines into slices and arrange them in layers in a colander with a little salt. Let them drain for half an hour, to reduce their bitterness. Prepare the tomato sauce: fry the garlic in a saucepan with a little extra virgin olive oil, add the tomato puree and a little salt and cook for about 15 minutes, then add some basil leaves. Fry the aubergines in plenty of oil, then cut them into strips and place them in the saucepan of tomato sauce. Cook the pasta, add the sauce and aubergines, and sprinkle with grated salted ricotta cheese.