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!
This Greek-inspired sauce looks vibrant, tastes delicious and is easy to make. You can spoon it over pasta (I used fusilli here, but any pasta will do), rice or even couscous. It’s a great way to incorporate courgettes into your diet, if you don’t like them on their own.
This sauce includes some of my favourite Greek ingredients, such as Kalamata olives, feta cheese and Olive Branch’s Red Wine Vinegar with Cretan Thyme Honey. You can use any red wine vinegar but the one from Olive Branch is my secret ingredient. It is made with the juices of Liatiko and Kotsifali grapes, which are then aged in oak barrels for 4 years.
But here’s the secret… the grapes are mixed with Cretan thyme honey. The bees feed on the thyme plants so the honey picks up their aroma, which gives the red wine vinegar a tangy, sweet taste.
The result is a succulent sauce, packed with freshness and flavour! Here’s how: