Rustichella d’Abruzzo's classic Italian pasta sauce, Sugo alla Norma, is made with succulent pieces of grilled eggplant, ricotta salata cheese and basil. This tomato sauce is used to make pasta alla Norma, the quintessential Sicilian pasta dish and the signature dish of Catania, on the shores of the Ionian Sea in Eastern Sicily. It is said to have been named after the opera Norma by Catania native Vincenzo Bellini… perhaps because the dish is as lovely and lyrical as the opera.
Pasta alla Norma is usually served with short tube pasta such as penne and rigatoni. To make the classic dish, first gently simmer Sugo alla Norma with a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil. Drain the pasta a few seconds before it is al dente and add it to the pan with the sauce, stirring to coat. Serve immediately in warm pasta bowls and top with grated ricotta salata or toasted breadcrumbs. This sauce would also be wonderful on a pizza, in vegetarian lasagne or with meatballs.