Tuesday, June 14, 2011

FOODMOOD: Pasta alla Norma

I enjoy serving my family pasta several times a week. Not only because I love Italian food, but because pasta dishes are so simple and varied. There are a lot of ready-made pasta sauces these days but I prefer to make my own fresh varieties. You will come a long way with beautiful tomatoes, herbs, good olive oil and garlic. In this dish you will really taste the sunshine. Delicious, pure and totally straight-forward food!

Serves 3
2 small aubergines, diced
1 tsp fleur de sel
5 tomatoes (with a sharp knife, make a small cross on the underside if each tomato)
6 tbsps olive oil
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 red chili pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 ½ tbsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper
handful basil, chopped
pine nuts and Parmesan shavings, to serve
penne (about 75-100g per person)

Put the aubergine cubes in a colander and sprinkle with the teaspoon of salt. Leave to stand for ½ an hour. Blanch the tomatoes by covering them with hot water for 4 minutes. Drain them and place them uder cold water. Remove their skins and chop them roughly. Heat 2 tbsps of the oil ina large frying pan and fry half of the aubergines over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Transfer them to a large bowl and do the same with the other half. Heat the last 2 tbsps of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and gently sweat the garlic and chili pepper. Add the chopped tomatoes and the aubergines to the garlic and chili pepper. Follow with the oregano, the sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Bring everything to the boil, lower the temperature and allow the sauce to cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil for the pasta. Remove the lid from the pan with the sauce during the last 4 minutes of the cooking time. Correct the seasoning. Cook the pasta al dente for 5-8 minutes. Drain and add to the sauce. Stir through together with the basil. Garnish with the Parmesan, the pine nuts and a few whole basil leaves. Delicious with a glass of Nero d’ Avola.

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