Baked Sicilian Pasta
Serves: 5 people
In Naples we have always been open to different cultures, from Spanish to French passing through Africa but also to our neighbouring regions. This reflects on our culinary tradition: taking inspiration from others, making the recipes our own. This happened when Neapolitan people met Pasta alla Norma, typical meal from Sicily and instead of topping it with ricotta we thought of adding pieces of sumptuous mozzarella. Below the recipe of Pasta alla Siciliana.
Mamma Flora’s Tip: choose the aubergines carefully, not too watery nor too many seeds.
When you fry them, don’t be scared to use a good amount of oil to fry, the aubergines will not be soaked if you follow the steps below.
- 500gr rigatoni pasta
- 250gr mozzarella
- 30 tablespoon of peanut oil to fry
- 3 aubergines
- 3 pelati cans of 400gr each
- 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- ½ onion
- 1 big pan
- 1 baking tray
- 2 pots
- Let’s begin by washing the aubergines, drying them and cutting them in small rectangles (see pic)
- Preheat the oven at 180°C
- Pour the frying oil in a big pan on high heat and wait for it to reach the right temperature. To understand when ready, insert a small piece of aubergine in the oil and if there are bubbles forming around it then you are ready to fry! Getting the right temperature is very important as it prevents the vegetables absorbing the oil
- Add some aubergines in the pan, not too many, if the pan is not big enough for all, then repeat the process multiple times until all aubergines are fried. Fry until brown, it should take around 10min per time
- Prepare a plate with kitchen paper to arrange the aubergines once ready and to absorb the extra oil
- In the meantime, let’s prepare the tomato sauce, in a pot add the extra virgin olive oil with half a onion and gently heat it
- Once the soffritto is ready then pour the pelati cans, if you prefer you can also use a hand blender so that they are smoother. Add salt as per taste
- Leave the sauce to cook at medium heat for 20 min
- In a pot boil some water, and when boiling add the pasta, cook it 4 min less the cooking time you find on the bag
- Once the sauce is ready, take out the onion, add the aubergines you fried earlier to the sauce and gently cook for 5min, add fresh basil
- Cut the mozzarella in small cubes and let it drain
- Drain the pasta still slightly uncooked and mix it with the sauce
- We are almost there, in a baking tray, place the first layer of pasta, top it with mozzarella cubes and parmesan. Add second layer of pasta and top it with more parmesan
- Let’s bake! I suggest you put some foil on the pasta for the first 15min so that the pasta doesn’t dry and then remove it the last 5 min so that the top becomes very crunchy! If you want you can also turn the oven on grill for the last minutes
Enjoy this pasta with your family and friends!