November 18, 2010

Sicily Sinking In

After I get back from a trip, I need some down-time for things to sink in. Sicily is overwhelming.
It is a melting pot of cultures, due the the invaders which came and went, leaving traces in the cuisine as well as in the art and architecture. We saw Greek ruins and learned to make cous cous. All Sicily.

We were blessed with warm enough weather to enjoy a granita di limone in Sciacca at the seaside.

After class one day, our chef Angelo took us down to meet the Maestro of granita- Aurelio! Only one flavor - Lemon but what lemon! He was a blast, showed us his link to you tube on the front door and was great about posing for foto's with the girls!

As the memories are sinking in, I began to thing about what to fix first for my Sicilian post- I let the market speak to me and found a fabulous Violet eggplant and Pasta alla Norma was chosen!

It is a simple essential recipe and as such there are as many recipes as there are cooks.

Which eggplant: black or violet?
Slices or cubes?
Serve on spaghetti or short pasta?

In my case I decided to do small cubes using the larger violet eggplant and to serve with spaghetti.

Pasta alla Norma - a simple sauce with a few secrets:

Put water on to boil for cooking the pasta, salt it when it has come to a boil.

Cut the eggplant and lightly salt it.
Let it sit for about 30 minutes and then rinse and pat dry.
Fry in oil until golden in small batches.
Place on paper towel and lightly salt.

Meanwhile make a simple tomato sauce: olive oil, canned tomatoes, salt and basil.
Cook the pasta of your choice,drain and toss in pan with tomato sauce.
Add the fried eggplant and mix well.
Serve with grated ricotta salata grated on top.

The secret of letting the pasta finish cooking in the pan with the sauce is really one of my favorites. The flavor is so much better! Try it and let me know if you enjoy it!

1 comment:

  1. God, I love Sicilian cooking! Your post brought back memories of a blazing hot day in Naples and an incredible Granita di Limonita which quenched my thirst! As far as Sicily is concerned, as someone who has to cook vegetarian (with the exception of fish) for my picky wife, the flavors of Sicily are a godsend!