Healthy Eating

A Twist Adds Complexity to a Pasta Dish

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To me it’s the best pasta dish of fall: those late nightshades, eggplant and tomato, cooked until meltingly tender, sweet and bitter at the same time, with plenty of anise-y basil and salt in the form of grated or small-diced ricotta salata.

For whatever reason, it’s called pasta alla Norma — created in Sicily, it’s said, as a tribute to an opera, it’s said — but it’s hard to believe anything more complicated than that eggplant and tomato have been cooked together since they were grown together, and that their sauciness made them a natural on pasta. Most recipes are not recipes at all, but reveal themselves naturally, in the course of things.

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