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.