Penne alla Norma

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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.

Preparation : 20 min Cooking : 20 min
530 calories/serving
  • Very easy
  • Gluten Free
  • Halal
  • Kosher
  • Vegetarian
  • Kid-friendly


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] 0.2 g
4 tsp olive oil 20 mL
2/3 cup Fresh Tomato Base 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 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]
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

per 1 serving (230g)


% Daily Value




14 g

22 %

Saturated 3 g
+ Trans 0 g

15 %


10 mg


390 mg

16 %


88 g

29 %


9 g

35 %


12 g


13 g

Vitamin A

75 %

Vitamin C

58 %


14 %


20 %

Servings of Canada's Food Guide

1 serving of this recipe is equivalent to :
Vegetables and Fruits : 3 ½ servings
Grain Products : 2 ¾ servings
Milk and Alternatives : ¼ serving
Meat and Alternatives : 0 serving


This recipe is :
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
Free  :
Added Sugar


1 serving of this recipe is equivalent to :
Food Group Exchanges
Starches 4 ½
Vegetables 2 ½
Meat and Alternatives ½
Fats 2 ½

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This recipe is in the following categories

Vegetables | Tomatoes | Pasta | Main courses/Entrées | High Iron | Vegetarian | High Fibre | Kosher | Halal | Italian