Aubergine Pasta (Pasta alla Norma) Recipe

In this post, I will explain how to prepare this traditional pasta dish with aubergine called Pasta alla Norma. Once, you tried them you will enjoy aubergines as much I do. They are perfect for this dish because they will add a wonderful silkiness to this main course, which is called Pasta alla Norma.

aubergine pasta served in a large bowl with parmesan

Pasta alla norma is a classic pasta dish in Sicilian cuisine from Catania, an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily. It’s made with tomatoes, fried auburgine, grated ricotta salata cheese, and basil. It is supposedly named for the opera Norma by Vincenzo Bellini.

Ingredients for 4 people: 

  • 3-4 aubergines, finely sliced
  • 60 gr salt
  • 500 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • tomato sauce 
  • Italian pasta: rigatoni or penne 320-380 gr or farfalle pasta as I did
  • pinch of sea salt
  • basil leaves, for garnish
  • 50 g pecorino romano

Preparation of Pasta alla Norma:  

  • Degorge the aubergines by placing the slides in a colander and sprinkling with salt (60 gr.) .
  • Leave them for 15 minutes to allow the bitter juice to drain, then rinse the aubergines and past dry. This is the same process that you have follow before preparing  the Parmigiana dish.
  • Now, fry the aubergines in the olive in batches until they’re soft and golden. Set aside and keeping warm.
  • Meanwhile, boil some water in a pot for past and cook the farfalle pasta as per packet instruction. Be careful, not let the farfalle to overcook. The farfalle should be al dente, with a bite.
  • Tip: In cooking, al dente describes pasta and (less commonly) rice or beans that have been cooked so as to be firm but not hard. “Al dente” also describes vegetables that are cooked to the “tender crisp” phase – still offering resistance to the bite, but cooked through. Keeping the pasta firm is especially important in baked or “al forno” pasta dishes, where the pasta is cooked twice. The term “al dente” comes from Italian and means “to the tooth” or “to the bite”, referring to the need to chew the pasta due to its firmness.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
  • In a separate pan, add the farfalle paste into the heated tomato sauce and place the aubergines on top.
  • Shred some basil on top and grate the pecorino over.  Drizzle with a extra virgin olive oil and serve.


  • The traditional recipe requires Ricatta Salata, that it a hard, salted ricotta cheese that you can easily find in Italy but not in Dublin. You might not find it easily abroad as me, so you can use the pecorino cheese that from my point of you, it is perfect for this dish.
  • Some people might like more feta than pecorino, personally I didn’t try it yet but it might be interesting to discover which one you like more.
  • Rigatoni is best with this dish, but if unavailable try or farfalle pasta as I did or large penne.

I am crazy about this main course and I hope you will like as much I do.

So, enjoy your meal or the Italians say: ‘buon appetito’

Alessandra Simple Recipe

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