Pasta Alla Norma (serves five)


2 aubergines

200g ricotta salata, pecorino or Parmesan cheese

500g chopped tinned tomatoes

500g dried penne

1tsp dried oregano

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 small bunch of fresh basil, chopped

Extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Cut the aubergines into quarters, removing any seedy, fluffy parts

2. Slice into finger-shaped batons, or cube if you prefer smaller pieces

3. For best results, place the aubergines in a colander and sprinkle with salt, as this will draw out the excess moisture, leaving the vegetables sweeter and crunchier after cooking

4. Add a little extra-virgin olive oil to a large non-stick pan and fry the aubergines in batches, adding more oil if needed to ensure each piece is coated well

5. Sprinkle the aubergines with the oregano, tossing them as they cook until they turn a nice golden colour

6. Return all of the aubergine to the pan before adding in the chopped garlic

7. Turn down to a medium heat, stirring to ensure it cooks evenly

8. Add the tomatoes to the pan and leave to simmer for ten to 15 minutes

9. During this stage, some of the aubergine will break down, but this is normal, and will benefit the consistency of the sauce

10. Add half of the chopped basil leaves to the sauce and taste to see if any extra seasoning is needed, like salt or pepper

11. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, adding a little salt

12. When the water is boiling, add the penne to the pan and cook according to the instructions on the packet, as cooking times can vary depending on the type of pasta you have chosen to use

13. As soon as the penne is ready (pasta cooked al-dente is recommended in many versions of the recipe, but it’s fine if you prefer to cook yours for a little longer to achieve your desired texture), drain the water from the pasta and stir in most of the sauce

14. Toss the pasta to ensure each piece is evenly coated with the sauce

15. Serve in dishes and top each portion of pasta with the extra sauce that is left over

16. Sprinkle each portion of pasta with the remaining basil leaves and top with your choice of ricotta salata, pecorino or Parmesan cheese