Penne alla Norma

Penne alla Norma

Penne with fried aubergines and a tomato sauce.

Named after «Norma», Bellini's most famous opera, this dish from the composer's birthplace, Catania (Sicily) develops a distinctive flavour when made with semi-hard salted «ricotta salata» as called for in the original recipe. Since this type of cheese can be difficult to find outside of Sicily, I have adapted the recipe.

2 servings
Preparation 20 min
Cooking 20 min

530 calories per serving 


2/3 cup peanut oil   170 mL
2 aubergines / eggplants, small size   360 g
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch [optional]   22 g
1/2 onions, finely chopped   100 g
1/2 clove garlic, minced    
1/3 dried chili peppers, minced [optional]   0.1 g
4 tsp olive oil   20 mL
2/3 cup Fresh Tomato Base (Recipe)   170 mL
2 tbsp ricotta cheese   24 g
160 g gluten free/wheat free penne   2 cups
2 tbsp Romano cheese   6 g
10 leaves fresh basil   5 tbsp
1 pinch salt [optional]   0.1 g
  ground pepper to taste    
  paper towels    

Before you start

Keep the serving dishes in the oven at the lowest setting so they are warm when you serve.

If no "homemade tomato base" is available, use store-bought strained tomatoes.

Put a colander in the sink to drain the cooked pasta so that it will be ready when needed.


  1. Preheat the peanut oil to 175°C/350°F in an electric fryer or in a large skillet.
  2. Prepare the vegetables : Cut the aubergines crosswise into 1 cm thick slices, then coat the slices with cornstarch (the coating step is optional, its purpose being just to reduce the amount of oil absorbed). Finely chop the onion. Mince the garlic and chili pepper.
  3. Deep fry the aubergine slices 2-3 min per side until they are golden-brown, then set them on paper towels to drain. Do only a few slices at a time. Alternatively, brush both sides of the slices with olive oil, place them on a baking sheet, then bake in a pre-heated 230ºC/450º F oven for about 15 min, or until nicely browned, turning them once. When the slices have cooled a bit after cooking, cut them into cubes, but leave some whole for a nicer presentation.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and sauté 2-3 min over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and chili pepper then sauté for 1 min. Add the Tomato Base and raise the heat so that the sauce cooks at a fast bubble. Cook about 10 min, then lower the heat, add the ricotta and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
  5. While the tomato sauce cooks, cook the pasta. Put the drained pasta into the tomato sauce pan. Add the grated cheese and mix, then add the diced aubergines and toss again.
  6. Serve in the warmed dishes, placing the whole (not cubed) aubergine slices on top of the pasta. Garnish with the fresh basil leaves.

Nutrition Facts Table

Nutrition Facts

per 1 serving (480g)


% DV*

* DV = Daily Value




14 g

22 %

Saturated 3 g
+ Trans 0 g

15 %


5 mg


350 mg

15 %


88 g

29 %


9 g

35 %


12 g


13 g

Vitamin A

70 %

Vitamin C

60 %


15 %


20 %

More info

Servings of Canada's Food Guide

1 serving of this recipe is equivalent to:

Vegetables and Fruit: servings
Grain Products: servings
Milk and Alternatives: ¼ serving
Meat and Alternatives: 0 serving

More info


Free :
Added Sugar
Source of :
Calcium, Copper, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Selenium, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Zinc
Good source of :
Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vitamin B6
Excellent source of :
Fibre, Folacin, Manganese, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K

More info

This recipe is in the following categories: Pasta | Tomatoes | Vegetables | Main courses/Entrées | Halal | High Fibre | High Iron | Kosher | Vegetarian | Italian

Fresh Tomato Base

Fresh Tomato Base

Tomato purée, nothing else!

In late summer, when there is an abundance of sun-ripened tomatoes, I like to prepare a large supply of my "tomato base" that I keep handy in the freezer. It is used in any recipe where canned or diced tomatoes are required.

800 mL (3 cups)
Preparation 10 min
Cooking 1 h 45 min


35 tomatoes, Roma type   2.5 kg
1/3 cup water   85 mL
1/2 tbsp salt   7 g

Before you start

A food mill will be very useful to purée the tomatoes as well as removing the skin and seeds.


  1. Wash the tomatoes briefly, cut them in half and put them in a pot. Add the water and salt, cover, and cook for about 10-15 min until the tomatoes are softened.
  2. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill. Discard the skin and seeds, then put the purée back into the pot that was used to cook the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, for about 1,5-2 h, until the volume has reduced to about one third of the original volume and the purée has reached the consistency of a sauce.
  3. Let the purée cool down 30 min, then transfer it to small containers. Chill in the refrigerator then freeze.


The purée can be stored up to 1 week in the refrigerator and up to 4 months in the freezer.

This recipe is in the following categories: Tomatoes | Sauces & Dips | Halal | Kosher | Vegan | Vegetarian

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