Spaghetti alla Norma Recipe

by Lael Hazan on May 13, 2011

Spring has sprung and  one of our favorite dishes to make with all of the wonderful spring bounty that is to be had in the farmer’s markets is Spaghetti alla Norma. In Sarasota, Florida, where we live, there are 7 farmer’s markets where vendors of fruits and vegetables, fresh gulf fish, and even a traveling crepérie ply their wares and there are some fabulous foodie finds.  Many of those with stands have only recently become produce farmers.   Recently I met someone whose family had been sod farmers, I was amazed to learn that due to the downturn in the economy her family has turned to growing fabulous vegetables and flowers. They were able to use the Obama administration stimulus money to assist them in diversifying their crops and making their land create income.  Like many who go to the farmer’s markets, when we go it is part shopping expedition and part amusement park visit.  We almost always find unplanned gems that we must purchase, and then wonder what we will do with them when we get them home.

One of the dishes we’ve made with the bounty of vegetables we’ve bought at the farmer’s market is Pasta alla Norma.  This is a recipe we have taught in our home cooking class and is delicious.  This dish was named after Vincenzo Bellini’s opera, Norma.  It is a typical Sicilian pasta recipe, flavorful, fresh, and even vegetarian.  It is exceptional with fresh farmer’s market produce.


(From How to Cook Italian by Giuliano Hazan)


A Perfect and Easy Pasta for Fresh Vegetables

  1. 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  2. 1 small clove garlic
  3. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  4. Salt
  5. 1 pound eggplant
  6. 1 pound spaghetti
  7. 6 ounces whole milk mozzarella
  8. 10-12 fresh basil leaves
  1. Peel the tomatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch dice.
  2. Put the olive oil and garlic in a 12” skillet over medium high heat. As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle, after 1-2 minutes, add the tomatoes and season with salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid the tomatoes release has evaporated.
  3. While the tomatoes are cooking, peel the eggplant and cut into 3/4 inch dice.
  4. Fill a pot for the pasta with at least 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  5. When the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated add the diced eggplant to the pan. Cover and cook until the eggplant is tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover the pan and, if the sauce seems watery, raise the heat and cook until it has reduced. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. Add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water, put in the spaghetti, and stir until all the strands are submerged. Cook until al dente.
  7. While the pasta is cooking, cut the mozzarella into 1/4 inch dice. Put the pan with the sauce back on medium heat. Coarsely shred the basil (by hand or with a knife) and add it to the pan. When the pasta is done, drain it well. Toss it with the sauce and the diced mozzarella and serve at once.


Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as part of a multi-course Italian meal

Preparation time: 45 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 4

Meal type: dinner

Culinary tradition: Italian










Comments on this entry are closed.

Alli April 27, 2012 at 7:47 am

Thank you, a girlfriend handed me an unwanted (!) eggplant today and I looked for an ‘old friend’ recipe of Marcella’s online, found this… yum! (Her cookbook was misplaced in one of many moves). Glad to find this website. Will try the carbonara next I think.

Katie@Cozydelicious May 25, 2011 at 10:27 am

This pasta looks fantastic – simple and delicious. Amazing about the increase in produce farmers at your market… who knew? And I love your wagon-wheel pasta! Such fun!

Nisrine M. May 21, 2011 at 9:40 pm

This is a simply beautiful pasta just the way I like to eat it. Italians are marvelous cooks and great at producing tasty creations out of simple ingredients.

Jamie May 17, 2011 at 9:08 am

This is so much like the simple, clean, seasonal yet deliciously flavorful pasta primos tossed together by Nonna Anna, the woman who lived next door to us in Italy and one of the best and most memorable dishes we ate there. Beautiful, Lael.

And I am also thrilled to hear a real-life story of someone receiving stimulus money and knowing how much good it did. Thanks!


Kulsum at JourneyKitchen May 17, 2011 at 3:36 am

This is so hearty and cheesy, just the way I like my pasta!

Krista May 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Sigh, I LOVE that sun-dappled basket full of fresh herbs. :-) Makes me want to go to the market right now and come home with arms full of such deliciousness. :-)

SMITH BITES May 16, 2011 at 8:18 am

about as perfect as it gets – pasta, fresh vegetables from the markets, a bit of good cheese and fresh herbs . . . makes my mouth water Lael!!!

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen May 14, 2011 at 6:26 am

One of my favorite dishes! I love the way the fresh mozzarella slowly starts to melt into the pasta.

Maria Paray May 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Since my son was eating with us tonight and he is not a fan of eggplant, I made this with the tomatoes and artichoke hearts and of course the garlic, cheese, basil – very good! I will be trying again with eggplant soon. Very quick, very delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe :-)

Lael Hazan May 13, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Glad you enjoyed. I’ll look forward to finding out how you enjoyed it with eggplant.

Christine (Cook the Story) May 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm

This sounds wonderful – simple yet hearty yet fresh. I will definitely try it next time I get my hands on some nice heavy eggplants. Thank you for sharing!

Lael Hazan May 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Let us know how you like it. It is one of our favorite go to recipes.

Maria Paray May 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Oh deliciousness! We love eggplant! Yet another reason to consider moving to Sarasota – SEVEN Farmer’s Markets! Wow, how wonderful!

Rosa May 13, 2011 at 8:50 am

A fabulous dish with summery flavors! Perfect with local tomatoes/eggplants, fresh garlic and artisan mozarella cheese!



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