Wallpapered Pasta Alla Norma

Written by Georgie Thompson on Wednesday, 31 October 2012.

Wallpapered Pasta Alla Norma

 

I made some ricotta late Saturday night after a few bottles of wine with some friends. With vague memories of such 'whey'ward aventures, I woke to a fridge full of fresh ricotta.. what a treat. After a bit smeared on toast that morning I had a loads left so set my eyes on making some sort of fresh pasta/ricotta number.. here's my take on the Sicilian classic Pasta Alla Norma using printed pasta!

...Next-day wine hazes always seem to send me in a crazed search for the perfect meal.. ambitiously plotting what the next thing I will eat/cook will be. 

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I'd been wanting to try to make printed pasta sheets for a while so I decided to have a crack at making a fancy 'wallpapered' version of Pasta Alla Norma which is a Sicilian pasta sauce with eggplant and ricotta. Traditionally they use Salata ricotta which is the hard salted stuff but that sh!t is so good it doesn't last a minute when I buy it!

Pasta Alla Norma is so easy to make and has super deeep flavours which I love!  With the ricotta at hand, I was almost done..Just had to grill up some eggplant, reduce down some fresh tomatoes and throw in some parsely and a bit of parmesan. The simplicity of the sauce meant that I could have more fun with the pasta rolling.

Basically just roll out 1 quantity of pasta dough as normal, and lay out flat-leaf parsley on one half, leaving one side free. Fold over the side without parsley and pat down until joined. Pass through the pasta machine again and you'll have created lush, ornate pasta sheets!

Super snaz and soo pretttty.. 

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So Pasta alla Normal is usually served with spaghetti or rigatoni, but instead I cut thick fettucini/pappardelle size strips so the patterns would show more.

The sauce was so so delish, but next time I'd keep it clean and simple with oil. garlic and bit of ricotta/parmesan so you can see the patterns more clearly..... Like this..

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"Wallpapered" Pasta Alla Norma

1 quantity of fresh pasta dough (check out Maxie's post for the recipe)
1 cup of flat-leaf parsley, stems removed

1 large eggplant, cut into 1cm-thick strips
4 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 ripe tomatoes or about 500ml of tomato pasta
200g of ricotta
Torn basil and/or parsley to serve

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium sauce pan and pop in finely chopped garlic. After a couple of seconds, stir in the tomato paste and let combine gentle for a minute or so. Add tomatoes, stir to combine and reduce to a low heat. Season well and simmer for about 20 minutes until flavours develop a colour darkens. 

While you're waiting for the sauce, get the eggplant on. 
Place eggplant strips on a large tray and salt with a few good pinches of sea salt. This will help remove the moisture from the eggplant and will soften them up nicely for cooking. After about 10 minutes, pat with a paper towl to remove expelled moisture.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in large pan and brown the eggplant on both sides for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towl and set aside. 

To cook the pasta, heat a large sauce pan and bring to the boil. Pop in your pasta and let cook for about 2-3 minutes, drain immediately. Fresh pasta cooks really quickly - especially if you roll it quite thin which I have done with the 'printed' version. 

To serve, scoop a large ladel of sauce over a bowl of pasta, place a few strips of eggplant onto and  gently combine. Throw in some large clusters of ricotta and some freshly torn basil and/or parsley. Shave some parmesan if you're keen for a bit more bite. 

Looking forward to experimenting...Enjoy!