I discovered this dish casually, a really fortunate casuality since it quickly became one my favorite comfort foods.
It’s actually a pretty simple recipe with just a few ingredients but, as it often happens with simple recipes, it turns out to be bold and delicious.
I remember when my dad used to tell me stories about his military years and when he and his mates went out to dinner together and ate a huge tray of “pasta alla Siciliana” so called “pasta alla Norma” with tomato, eggplants and some sort of cheese (I bet it was Ricotta Salata).
Then one day I found in one of my food magazines a recipe that recalled this famous “pasta alla Siciliana” my dad always talked about, so I tried it out.
I well remember my dad’s face at the first bite. Memories, melacholy and joy all mixed together at the single taste of long lost flavors. Useless to say that since then this recipe became a usual and a favorite of mine.
The mozzarella will melt and blend with the eggplants and tomato sauce making it incredibly creamy and yummy (kind of like pizza) and the eggplants will be soft and will infuse the sauce with their full aroma.
TIP: Since the eggplant’s peel is often quite bitter you can choose to peel it off completely or (as I do) peel it partially lenghtways in stripes. (see example)
- 180g (5oz) Spaghetti
- 1/2 medium Eggplant
- 1 can Peeled Tomatoes or Tomato Purèe
- 1/2 White Onion
- 1 Mozzarella
- Salt & Pepper
- EVO Olive Oil
- Chop the onion and eggplant into small cubes then add them to a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Fry until the eggplant absorb all the oil, then season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Add the tomatoes, fill half of the can with water and add it to the pan as well. Mix well with a spoon and break the tomatoes every now and then until they become sauce.
- Turn the heat to low and let it cook at least 15 minutes. If necessary add a pinch of sugar to balance the tomato acidity and season again with salt and pepper to taste.
- In the meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil and add a punch of salt when it starts to bubble. Toss the pasta in when the sauce is halfway through the cooking.
- When the pasta is almost ready (al dente) drain it and add it to the pan with the sauce. Mix well together so the pasta will start to absorb the flavors and add the mozzarella chopped into cubes.
- Stir thoroughly until the mozzarella is completely melted and blended in the sauce.
- Serve immediately.
- If you wish to enrich with more flavors this recipe (although believe me it's not necessary) you can add some basil leaves in the sauce and some grated Parmesan (or better Pecorino cheese) before serving.