Eggplants: Pasta alla Norma

25 May 2018

Eggplants – or “aubergines” if you are British and “Melanzane” if you are Italian – have a really interesting history in Italy.

This vegetable, which has Chinese origins, was imported to Italy by the Arabs. In the Middle Age, in Italy we used to use the prefix “melo” to call vegetables coming from far away.  So, why were eggplants called “melanzana” and not “mela” (which is now the Italian word for “apple”)? At that time people used to think that eggplants were responsible for psychic disturbs, intestine diseases and even the plague! The reason why eggplants used to have such a bad reputation is because they get dark when cut. This is how eggplants in Italy got the name of ”melanzana”, which in ancient times meant “unhealthy apple”.




Today we know that eggplants are very healthy! Just to mention few features, eggplants are:


  • Rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Rich of fibres
  • Rich of antioxidant substances


Because of this, eggplants have diuretic properties, can improve the health of our intestine and stimulate the bile production.


Having said this, shouldn’t we celebrate the goodness of eggplants with a great recipe? Let’s do so with “Pasta alla Norma”, a Sicilian dish.


Serves 4 people



200g Salted ricotta cheese

400g Penne rigate

500g Eggplants

Extra-virgin olive oil

800g Chopped tomatoes

10g Basil






  1. Fry a garlic clove in a pan with olive oil for a few seconds
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes
  3. While cooking the sauce, bring a pot of water to boil, salt the water and cook the penne rigate.
  4. Cut the eggplants in thin slices and fry them in olive oil
  5. Mix the pasta with the sauce and place on the plate. Add basil, the fried eggplants and sprinkle with some grated salted ricotta cheese.

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