Aubergine, eggplant… however they’re named, I just love them. Unfortunately, Paulo “not so much” so we hardly ever used them in our cooking. I knew I had to find a compromise and this is it! It’s a dish for those who don’t like aubergine, but I’m convinced it will convert all aubergine-haters. Once they’re fried, they have a meaty texture and any bitterness is eliminated.
This recipe is basically what’s known in Sicily as Pasta alla Norma. It’s a famous dish named after the opera Norma by Vincenzo Bellini. Its flavours are definitely a work of art! The pasta shapes vary but I prefer a sturdy pasta, such as tortiglioni or rigatoni, to take on a sauce this thick and chunky.
The Sicilian way is to top the pasta with ricotta salata (salted ricotta) but it can be tricky to find. It’s a saltier, aged version of soft ricotta. Good substitutes are salty cheeses such as feta or Pecorino.
My version of Pasta alla Norma is quick and easy but still delicious. One day I will travel to Sicily and experience the traditional recipe!
Casa Del Mar is a delightful Mediterranean restaurant located in the centre of Bury St Edmunds. Once known as Café Del Mar, the name change reflects the fact that it’s more than just a café, and rightly so. The menu includes an impressive selection of dishes, including Spanish, Greek, Italian and Moroccan. Owned by the vivacious and talented Maria Broadbent, Casa Del Mar’s ambience is cosy and inviting with friendly and attentive service throughout.
We went to Bury St Edmunds to see a concert at The Apex and were looking for a place to eat nearby that could accommodate the four of us for an early dinner, as the show started at 7:30pm on the dot. The thought of having to resort to a boring chain restaurant wasn’t too appealing so a quick tweet revealed Casa Del Mar as a recommendation. Our friends Peter and Jenni had just returned from a trip to Italy so they were thrilled with the choice, plus it was only a 5-minute walk to the venue. Perfect.