This might not actually be Pasta alla Norma. My apologies. But if the kids are cooking along with you and want to handle knives and open cans, there is not really time to look up recipes: you rely on your memory and hope things will turn out okay (they ate it, which makes it a success in my book. They did not even notice I used whole grain pasta!).
Pasta alla Norma (will feed 4 and might leave leftovers)
- 1 eggplant, generously diced
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 small dried red chili pepper, seeded and cut into flakes
- 2 cans (400ml) of canned tomato
- 1 small glass white white
- 1 package feta sheep cheese (200g)
- 2 tbs. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)
- 1-2 tsp triple concentrated tomato essence (I was out of passata)
- oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley from the balcony (Yes, I know, basil. I still need to get one for this year. If you have basil, use basil!)
- Heat up 1 tsp. of olive oil in a medium-sized pan, add the diced eggplant and grill/sauté at medium heat until smooth, ca. 10 minutes.
- Remove the eggplant from the pan. Add the remaining tsp. of olive oil to the pan, gently (not more than medium heat!) sauté the diced onion and finely chopped garlic until fragrant an translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Don’t let them drown.
- Add in white wine and tomato essence. Stir.
- Add the canned tomato.
- Reduce heat to a gentle, but still somewhat bubbly, simmer.
- Add salt, pepper, sugar and the chili.
- Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, then add the herbs, if fresh. Dried herbs can go in with the other spices already.
- Let it simmer for 10 more minutes. – 20 minutes is the minimum to blend the flavors properly.
- For the last 5-10 minutes, add the eggplant again.
- Pull off the stove, crumble the feta cheese on top. Add some Parmesan for good measure (I guess you could skip it, but my kids won’t).
- Done! Fit for a Druid Priestess – bold and fiery and flavorful, salty when it comes to her ex, and smooth as silk if she wants to be. Serve over some penne rigate or fusilli.