I’m always being asked for more vegetarian recipes but as such a big meat eater, I often find myself automatically basng my recipes around chicken, pork, beef or lamb. Having gotten a little into Meatless Mondays at the moment however, I though it was time I gave another veggie recipe a go.
This is a classic Sicilian dish traditionally made using grated ricotta salata however being in Manchester rather than Italy, I have found it rather hold to get rid of any. As a result, I’ve experimented changing the cheese for a few others including mozzarella, goat’s cheese and ricotta. If you are looking for a stronger, creamier flavour, go for the goats cheese however if you fancy the melty stringy pasta bake style cheesiness, go for the mozzarella. The smart points remain the same provided you use the amounts as stated below.
‘Pasta alla Norma’
Serves 2 = 9sp per person (Flex)
2 small aubergines, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 red onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Bunch of fresh basil, stalks and leaves separated
400g tin of tomatoes
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp crushed chillies
Pinch of sugar
100g dried pasta (I used penne)
Large handful of spinach, roughly chopped
100g light mozzarella ball, diced (or 40g goat’s cheese, roughly diced or 85g ricotta cheese added in small chunks)
Take a large frying pan, spray with 1kal and fry the aubergine on a high heat for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned on the outside (you may need to do this in batches).
Add the onion, garlic and basil stalks and continue to fry for another 5 minutes. Add a touch of water if the pan gets too dry (not too much as the aubergines might soak it up and go waterey).
Add the chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, oregano and crushed chillies alongside a small pinch of sugar. Season to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes while you cook the pasta.
Once cooked, drain the pasta and add to the sauce alongside a little of the chopped fresh basil leaves, spinach and the mozzarella (or cheese of your choice). Toss together and let the heat melt the cheese a little.
Top with a final sprig of basil.