Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Pasta alla Norma – the extended edition

One of our favorite 10 minute dishes is Pasta alla Norma. This to a degree that in order to make some variation there is also the extended edition, which T was inspired by something he had seen in a Danish cookbook. Today we opt for the extended edition as we will have no secondo. That fact will not deter us from having some white wine. T has recently bought some wine on a wine auction (an expensive pastime of both K and T) which we decide to taste. The background for this purchase was that T once had a Sancerre on the famous Danish restaurant, Noma and since then he had been trying to track down where to get it. The wine in question was from Alphonse Mellot and called Cuvée Edmondo. The one that T got hold of was not the Cuvée Edmond. It was La Moussière 2006, but it was nevertheless also splendid 9/10.

Back to the extended edition....

Cook/dry slices of 2 melanzane (Eggplant) on a dry, hot pan. Roast some pine nuts (30g). Cut 1½ red pepper fruit into small strips not more than 4cm long. Put hot oil on the pan once all the melanzane has been fried. Add 3-4 cloves of chopped garlic together with the stalks of a small handful of fresh basil. Save the basil leaves for later.
Add the peppers and let them fry for a couple of minutes. Add the melanzane which in the meantime also have been cut into small strips.

Add some chopped tomatoes and let it cook for some minutes. Mix with the drained pasta and top with the pine nuts and the chopped basil leaves. Serve with grated parmesan. Once again we use the 50-50 (50% full grain pasta) with this dish as this is another pasta where it works very well.

As to the extended versus the basic edition: The pepper fruits and the pine nuts are not part of the basic edition. The extended edition can also be further extended with capers and/or chilli and the sauce today might have improved by some additional water from the cooked pasta or maybe just a small glass of white wine. Note that in T's mind the basic edition is served with salted ricotta rather than parmesan, but T has not been able to locate this in Denmark so far. Still trying...

The original Pasta alla Norma is a Sicilian dish made in honor of the opera, Norma by Bellini. Therefore we also select a Sicilian wine (as we normally do for this dish). Today it is a bottle of Don Rudolfo 2007. This is Nero d'Avola based red made by the Danish winemaker Hans Winding-Diers. We drank the last bottle of 2005 a couple of months ago and that was a fond farewell. The 2007 is notably less mature, but still drinkable with a nose of notes of fresh moss.

Today we rate the pasta 7,5 (we have done this better on other occasions), the wine 7,7/10 and together it is a hit as usual 8,2/10)

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