MUSIC may be the food of love according to Shakespeare, but for a more hearty way to impress your loved one this Valentine’s Day, try this pasta recipe.

Garofalo, the Italian pasta company, has teamed up with Masterchef 2011 finalist Sara Danesin to create Pasta alla Norma.

This is a classic Sicilian recipe blending the flavours of aubergines, tomatoes, basil and ricotta.

The term Norma seems to refer to the lady who developed the dish, whose standard was deemed as high as Bellini’s opera La Norma.

2 medium aubergines, sliced widthwise 500 ml chopped tinned tomatoes (or passata)
Basil (12 leaves – fresh)
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium shallots
150ml corn oil/mild olive oil for frying
20ml extra virgin olive oil
400g of Garofalo mezze maniche 200g salted ricotta (if unavailable, use half parmigiano and half pecorino romano)

Slice the aubergines width-wise and sprinkle them with rock salt as you layer them to ‘sweat’ in colander.

Place a weight on top of the colander and allow at least half an hour for the excess water to drain from the aubergines. Pat them dry afterwards and fry them in corn oil/light olive oil.

Rest the fried aubergines in absorbent paper and slice in strips (1/2 cm width). Slice two medium shallots and sauté in a pan with two tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, add the tinned tomato and let the sauce reduce to a jam-like consistency.

When the sauce is ready, add the aubergines, mix well, add the finely chopped basil and the grated salted ricotta (or parmesan/pecorino). If the sauce is a little too dense, add – before the cheese – half a ladle of boiling water and mix well, drain the pasta and serve at once.

􀁥 To cook the pasta, use a large capacity pan and bring to the boil four litres of water. Add salt and then the pasta.

The golden rule for cooking pasta properly is to use one litre of water for every 100g of pasta. Don’t bother adding any oil to prevent pasta from sticking – it is the quantity of water and regular stirring that will ensure pasta doesn’t stick.

Garofalo Pasta is available through Ocado and independent retailers.

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