Spaghetti with EggplantsPalermo Style


 

“Pasta con Melanzane alla Palermitana”


“Spaghetti Cu’ Pumaroru, Milinciani e Ricotta Salata”)

 

This dish is exclusively “Palermitano” and very popular in Palermo.
Spaghetti is mandatory in this recipe; cook spaghetti in the full length without breaking it up into short pieces.
I still remember the smell of flour that filled the air in the pastificio, the pasta shop, in Via Torremuzza near Piazza Kalsa, where the pasta was produced and sold. One side at the back of the shop was neatly arranged with long sticks and spaghetti or bucatini were hanging to dry. The storefront had a large counter with a big scale, beyond that stood a cabinet containing many drawers, each clearly marked with the type of pasta it contained.
We brought the spaghetti loose and would ask the counter person not to break the pasta. We chose the driest pasta they had in stock for a better yield.

 

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • ¼ lb. Ricotta Salata cheese
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ bunch of parsley chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 small Italian eggplants or 4 baby eggplants
  • 1 cup of olive oil to fry eggplants

 

Preparation

The Eggplants
Remove stalk and slice eggplants lengthwise about ½ inch thick, then cut each slice lengthwise again into strips about ½ inch wide.
Place the eggplants strips in a colander, salt lightly and drain for 30 minutes. This will remove some bitterness. Pat dry with a rag or paper towels then fry the strips in 1 cup of olive oil and set oil on aside.

The Condiment
In a sauté pan combine ¼ cup of olive oil, the garlic and parsley, cook over medium heat until the garlic is light brown. Add tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste and simmer until ready to use.

The pasta with Eggplants
Cook the spaghetti al dente in a large pot of salted water following manufacturers’ directions.
When pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot. Keeping on a low flame, toss in a few strips of eggplants, some of the oil and half of the sauce.
Pour spaghetti in a warm large serving bowl, top it with the remaining tomato sauce, and cover with the fried eggplants. Sprinkle a generous amount of grated Ricotta Salata cheese and serve immediately.