This is a great interpretation of a pasta classic from the Mediterranean master himself. Watching repeats of any Rick Stein series is my favourite way to pass the time on a sick day, or a lazy Sunday and this pasta alla Norma recipe made me pause, rewind and grab my notepad.
A combination of ripe tomato, salt, squidgy aubergine, hot chilli flakes and al dente pasta gives a mouth watering combination of classic Italian flavour and a mountain of texture. The simplicity of it and the luxurious taste means it works as a refined weekend treat or a rough and ready mid-week quickie!
Watch Rick make the dish
To make pasta alla Norma:
Slice an aubergine in to batons, put in a colander, shake with lots of salt.
Put your preferred pasta (mine is spaghetti) in a pan of boiling unsalted water and simmer.
Tip onto a clean dry tea towel and pat dry.
Toss the aubergine into a pan of hot olive oil, lift back out into the colander and set to one side.
Chop and crush 2 garlic cloves together with a pinch of salt and fry in the same pan you used for the aubergine.
Add a teaspoon of chilli flakes and a large handful of fresh chopped tomatoes.
Tip in the aubergine and add some fresh black pepper.
Simmer on a low heat until the aubergine is warmed through.
Drain the pasta and tip into the sauce – mix and serve!
You can top your dish with crumbled feta, torn mozzarella, whole basil leaves, parmesan shavings or simply a glug of good extra virgin olive oil.