Pasta alla Norma

The birth of this recipe can be traced back to a popular Catania legend of 1831, following the release of the opera entitled Norma by Massimo Bellini. The legend tells of a group of music lovers who arrived at a restaurant late after the show. The cooked served them a pasta dish hastily prepared with ingredients left over in the kitchen. Enthusiastic about the dish, one of the music lovers exclaimed: "but this is a Norma!", to demonstrate the passion of Catania's natives for Bellini's opera, considered to be the "non plus ultra".


  • 500 g spaghetti
  • 3 eggplants
  • ricotta salata (salted) cheese
  • garlic
  • basil


Cut the eggplant into 1-2 cm thick slices, soak in salted water for approximately one hour, rinse, then fry in a generous amount of olive oil. Prepare the sauce using chopped tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic cloves, a bit of basil and cook until the sauce thickens. Boil the spaghetti in plenty of salted water, drain and sauté in the saucepan with the sauce. Add the fried eggplant, garnish with basil leaves and salted and dried ricotta, grated.