Welcome to my Sicilian Pasta Recipe! This is a dish that is near and dear to my heart, as it combines the rich flavors of traditional Sicilian cuisine with the comfort of a classic pasta dish.
Sicilian pasta is a culinary specialty from the island of Sicily, and it is a dish found on tables across the region. The recipe is typically fragrant and full of flavor, featuring ingredients such as tomatoes, garlic, onion, and extra virgin olive oil.
In this recipe, we will be making Pasta alla Norma, a classic Sicilian pasta dish that combines penne pasta with eggplant, plum tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. The result is a rich tomato sauce with a slight kick from chili flakes, all topped off with fresh basil leaves for a burst of flavor.
I promise that this Sicilian Pasta Recipe will transport you to the beautiful island of Sicily with every bite. So, let’s get started and bring a taste of Sicily to your dinner table!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you tired of the same old pasta dishes and craving something new and exciting? Look no further than this Sicilian Pasta recipe! This dish is a culinary specialty of Sicily, and can be found on tables across the island. And it’s no wonder why – with its rich tomato sauce, tender eggplant, and fragrant basil, this pasta alla norma is sure to become a new favorite.
One of the things that makes this dish so special is the combination of flavors and textures. The eggplant is cooked until it’s soft and creamy, and the plum tomatoes and garlic cloves are sautéed until they’re tender and flavorful. The pasta is cooked al dente, then tossed with the tomato sauce and topped with fresh basil leaves and mozzarella cheese. The result is a pasta dish that’s both hearty and fresh, with a balance of sweet and savory flavors.
But what really sets this pasta recipe apart is its versatility. You can easily make substitutions and variations to suit your tastes and dietary needs. Try adding some chili flakes for a spicy kick, or swapping the eggplant for cauliflower or sardines. You can even make a pistachio pasta or pesto pasta alla siciliana for a twist on the classic dish.
Not only is this Sicilian Pasta recipe delicious and versatile, it’s also easy to make! With just a few simple ingredients and a little bit of prep work, you can have a flavorful and satisfying meal on the table in no time. Plus, you can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer for a quick and easy dinner later on.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a new pasta dish to add to your repertoire, look no further than this Sicilian Pasta recipe. It’s versatile, flavorful, and easy to make – what more could you ask for? So go ahead and give it a try, and see why this dish is a staple of Sicilian cuisine.
Before we dive into the recipe, let’s go over the ingredients you will need to make this Sicilian Pasta Recipe. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 12 ounces of penne or any pasta of your choice.
- 1 medium-sized eggplant.
- 4 plum tomatoes, chopped.
- 3 garlic cloves, minced.
- 1 onion, finely chopped.
- 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese.
* Herbs and Spices:
- 1/4 cup of basil leaves, chopped.
- 2-3 chili flakes.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 2 tbsp of tomato paste.
- 2 cups of tomatoes garlic sauce.
- 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
You can find most of these ingredients at your local grocery store. However, I recommend using Sicilian homemade pasta to make this recipe truly authentic.
The Recipe How-To
Now that we have all the ingredients ready, it’s time to get cooking! Here’s how to make the delicious Sicilian Pasta alla Norma.
- 1 pound of penne or uncooked rigatoni pasta
- 1 large eggplant, diced
- 4-5 plum tomatoes, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp of tomato paste
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of chili flakes
- 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, grated
- A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Start by cooking the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Don’t forget to add salt to the boiling water. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set it aside.
While the pasta is cooking, cut the eggplant into small cubes and sprinkle them with salt. This will help remove any excess water and bitterness. Let the eggplant sit for about 10-15 minutes, then rinse with water and pat dry.
In a large pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
Add the diced eggplant to the pan and cook until it’s golden brown and tender. This should take about 10 minutes.
Add the diced plum tomatoes, tomato paste, and chili flakes to the pan. Stir everything together and let it cook for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and a rich tomato sauce has formed.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss everything together until the pasta is coated in the sauce.
Sprinkle the grated mozzarella cheese over the pasta and cover the pan with a lid. Let the cheese melt for a few minutes until it’s bubbly and golden brown.
Finally, turn off the heat and garnish the pasta with torn basil leaves. Serve hot and enjoy!
Tips for Perfect Results:
- Make sure to cut the eggplant into small, bite-sized pieces so that it cooks evenly.
- Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Don’t skip the step of salting the eggplant. This helps remove any bitterness and excess water.
- If you prefer a spicier pasta, add more chili flakes to the sauce.
- For a creamier pasta, add a splash of heavy cream or ricotta cheese to the sauce.
- If you want to make this recipe vegetarian, simply omit the mozzarella cheese or use a vegan cheese alternative.
Now that you know how to make this delicious Sicilian Pasta alla Norma, give it a try and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills.
Substitutions and Variations
While the Sicilian pasta recipe is absolutely delicious as is, there are plenty of ways to make it your own by adding your own twist. Here are some substitutions and variations that you can try:
1. Vegetarian Version: If you want to make this dish vegetarian, simply leave out the chicken and add in some roasted cauliflower. The roasted cauliflower adds a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture to the dish.
2. Pistachio Pasta: For a unique and colorful twist on the Sicilian pasta recipe, try using pistachio pasta instead of penne. Pistachio pasta is made with ground pistachios and semolina flour, giving it a vibrant green color and a slightly nutty flavor.
3. Sardines: For a taste of the sea, add in some canned sardines to the dish. Sardines are a traditional ingredient in Sicilian cuisine and add a salty, briny flavor to the dish.
4. Pesto Pasta: For a lighter and fresher take on the dish, try using homemade pesto instead of tomato sauce. The bright flavors of the basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese will complement the flavors of the eggplant and mozzarella cheese.
5. Chicken Spaghetti: For a heartier version of the dish, try using spaghetti instead of penne and add in some shredded chicken. The chicken adds a rich and savory flavor to the dish, making it a perfect comfort food.
No matter which variation you choose, the Sicilian pasta recipe is a versatile and delicious dish that can be customized to your liking.
Serving and Pairing
Sicilian pasta is a dish that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with other dishes for a complete meal. One of the classic ways to serve this pasta is to sprinkle some fresh basil leaves and grated mozzarella cheese on top. The combination of the melted cheese with the fresh aroma of basil leaves perfectly complements the rich tomato sauce of the pasta.
For a heartier meal, serve the pasta with a side of eggplant alla norma. The eggplant is first sliced and fried until golden brown and then mixed with plum tomatoes, garlic cloves, and chili flakes. The mixture is then simmered until it forms a thick sauce that is perfect for dipping the pasta in.
Another great pairing option is to serve the pasta with some grilled chicken or fish. The chicken or fish can be marinated in olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes to give it a slightly spicy kick that complements the flavors of the pasta. For a vegetarian option, try pairing the pasta with some roasted cauliflower. The roasted cauliflower brings a subtle nuttiness to the dish that perfectly complements the rich tomato sauce.
If you are feeling adventurous, try making some pistachio pasta or pesto pasta to serve with the Sicilian pasta. The nuttiness of the pistachios or the freshness of the pesto sauce adds a unique twist to the dish that is sure to impress your guests.
No matter how you choose to serve your Sicilian pasta, it is sure to be a hit. This dish is a culinary specialty of Sicily and can be found on tables across the island. With its rich tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil leaves, Sicilian pasta is a pasta dish that is sure to become a family favorite.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Sicilian Pasta is a dish that can easily be made ahead of time and reheated when you’re ready to serve. This makes it a great option for busy weeknights or for entertaining guests. To make ahead, simply cook the pasta according to the instructions and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
When you’re ready to serve, reheat the pasta in a large pot over medium heat with a splash of olive oil. You may need to add a splash of water to the pot to loosen the pasta and prevent it from sticking together. Once heated through, you can serve immediately with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of basil leaves.
If you have leftovers, they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply microwave for 1-2 minutes or reheat in a pot with some additional tomato sauce and a splash of olive oil.
Another great way to use up leftover Sicilian Pasta is to make a pasta bake. Simply transfer the pasta to a baking dish, top with some breadcrumbs and grated mozzarella cheese, and bake in the oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Overall, Sicilian Pasta is a versatile dish that can be made ahead of time, reheated, and even transformed into a delicious pasta bake. So go ahead and make a big batch, and enjoy it throughout the week!
Tips for Perfect Results
One of the keys to making a great Sicilian pasta dish is to pay attention to the details. Here are some tips to make sure your Sicilian pasta recipe turns out perfectly every time.
First, be sure to use high-quality ingredients. This includes using plum tomatoes, fresh garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil. These ingredients are essential to creating the rich tomato sauce that is the hallmark of Sicilian pasta dishes.
When cooking the eggplant, it’s important to get it just right. Cut the eggplant into small cubes and salt it to remove the bitterness. Then, fry the eggplant in olive oil until it’s golden brown. Be sure not to overcook it, as it can become mushy.
When cooking the pasta, be sure to use a large pot of salted water. The pasta should be cooked until it’s al dente, which means it should still have a bit of bite to it. Overcooked pasta can ruin the texture of the dish.
When adding the sauce to the pasta, be sure to reserve some of the pasta water. This starchy water can be added to the sauce to help it cling to the pasta and create a creamy texture.
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations of the Sicilian pasta recipe. Try adding pistachios or sardines to the dish for a unique twist. Or, switch out the eggplant for cauliflower or chicken for a different flavor profile.
By following these tips and experimenting with variations, you’ll be able to create a Sicilian pasta dish that is sure to impress.
Now that you have learned how to make this delicious Sicilian Pasta recipe, it’s time to address some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) that may arise as you prepare this dish. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with some tips and tricks to make sure your pasta turns out perfect every time. Let’s dive into the FAQ section!
What pasta is famous in Sicily?
Pasta alla Norma, a beloved Sicilian dish, has gained popularity beyond Italy’s borders. This pasta specialty hails from the Catania region and features penne or rigatoni, perfectly fried eggplants, and high-quality tomatoes. It is a must-try for pasta lovers everywhere.
What is the national dish of Sicily?
This recipe article covers how to make the famous dish from Sicily, which is pasta with sardines and fennel.
What is the most common pasta in Sicily?
If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, chances are you’ve come across zitoni pasta. This type of pasta is well-loved in some regions of Italy, particularly in Naples and Sicily. It’s basically a bigger version of ziti pasta, featuring wide, tubular noodles with a hollow center. So if you’re looking to add some variety to your pasta dishes, zitoni is definitely worth a try.
What is Sicilian pasta made of?
In Sicily, dried pasta is available in numerous varieties and is often the main ingredient in local recipes. The condiments used in these dishes are typically sourced from the surrounding area, including ricotta, courgettes, aubergines, broad beans, peas, pumpkin flowers, and tenerumi, which are the leaves of the long courgette. These ingredients are a reflection of the region’s fertile land and local produce, and have been used in Sicilian cooking for generations.
In conclusion, this Sicilian Pasta Recipe is a must-try for all pasta lovers. With its rich tomato sauce, eggplant, and mozzarella cheese, this pasta dish is sure to become a favorite in your household. Not only is it easy to make, but it is also a culinary specialty found on tables across Sicily.
By following my recipe how-to and incorporating some of my tips and recommendations, you can create a delicious pasta alla norma that is both fragrant and flavorful. Don’t be afraid to experiment with substitutions and variations to make this recipe your own.
Whether you’re serving it for a family dinner or a dinner party, this Sicilian pasta dish is sure to impress. So why not make it your go-to pasta recipe for 2022? Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.
Sicilian Pasta Recipe
- 2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 -3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 cups plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
- 6 -7 basil leaves, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 lb penne (or other like pasta)
- Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until transparent.
- Add tomatoes, eggplant and basil. Cook approximately 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions; drain well.
- Add tomato/eggplant mixture to pasta; add mozzarella cheese and stir well.
- Serve immediately.
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Lucy is a mom who loves to cook up a storm. She enjoys discovering, collecting, and experimenting with delicious, healthy recipes for her blog. With her passion for cooking, Lucy is always coming up with her own unique creations to share with the world.