This Sicilian dish is named for the famous Opera Norma but you don't have to be Sicilian or an opera lover to enjoy this meal!
1 pound eggplants (4 large)
2 cloves garlic shredded on grater
red pepper flakes
20 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes OR 1 pound peeled & diced garden tomatoes
8-10 basil leaves (rolled and chopped confetti style)
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup Ricotta Salata OR 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano grated
salt and pepper
canola oil for frying
Peel and slice the eggplant into half-inch pieces, salt the eggplant, place them in a colander for about an hour. Pat them dry wiping all of the salt off, and fry them a few pieces at a time in hot oil (350 degrees), turning them so both sides brown, and placing them on paper towels to drain.
Start the pasta water boiling in a large pot of salted water (3/4 full) and cook pasta al dente while preparing sauce
While the water is heating up heat up olive oil in a large saute pan and saute garlic
Add tomatoes and saute
Season with salt and abundant pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking the sauce (15-20 minutes) remove from heat
Add the basil and stir
Place the pasta in to the pan with the sauce and add cheese, mix together adding pasta water if it is not thin enough.
Serve with plenty of cheese!