We’re crazy about eggplants. We adore them, we treasure them, we eat them up whenever we can. We roast them, we fry them, we toss them in sauce, we smash them into spreads, we layer them on sandwiches, we make them into caponata. We are indiscriminate in our eggplant love. But, of course, the way these purple gems mostly get into our cooking on the regular? Pasta. And the queen of the eggplant pastas is—hello—Pasta alla Norma.
Pasta alla Norma is one of our favorite pastas of all time, but with each delicious bite, we’ve often wondered who is Norma? What incredible woman could have inspired such a perfect dish? Sweet tomatoes and eggplants meld with fresh herbs, fragrant garlic, and spicy red pepper flakes. Everything is topped off with the gloriousness that is Ricotta Salata—a cheese that has one of the most fantastic, saltiest bites around. So, we looked into it, and it turns out the lady is actually an opera: the dish was apparently named to honor Vincenzo Bellini’s opera Norma. Ok, we’ll buy that.
But as with all great stories, there are apparently a couple of possibilities for the way it came about. Some say that Vincenzo would often order an eggplant pasta dish at a restaurant he frequented. Eventually, he ate it enough that the chef dedicated the dish to him. The other story says that Italian writer Nino Martoglio loved the dish so much that he compared it to Bellini’s opera and the name caught on. Either way, Pasta all Norma originated in Sicily (like Lou’s parents…maybe that accounts for some of our adoration…) Leave it to the Italians to align food with art—and we are in total agreement.
So because we love this dish just as much as Vincenzo or Nino, we wanted to share it with you this Valentine’s Day. After all, pasta and love are both meant to be shared. Besides, what makes a better valentine than a bowl full of pasta?
When people talk about love, they say all kinds of different things. They love their families and partners, they love movies and music and food, they love their books and their sweaters, they love traveling and staying home, they love pasta and eggplant, they love many, many things. We say: Serve pasta, love all, and mend...
For the rest of the post, the recipe, and oh so much more Lee & Lou click here.