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Pasta Norma, La Callas, Francesco Siciliani in Celano

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copyright 2012 Art of Living,PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

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Hidden away in the bayous of  tiny little town in the mountains of Abruzzo- Celano..I discovered a gem of a museum hiding in the is the Museo paludi (www, the artwork saved from churches in the devastating earthquake in the city of L’Aquila that were catalogued so carefully and hidden away in the backroom of the museum….artisans from all over Europe come here  to restore painstakingly the masterpieces that are priceless…an exhibit of Francesco Siciliani and his career was highlighted in the center of the museum…


You may not recognize the name or face but he was the person responsible for discovering Maria Callas …and was one of the most important directors of some of the most famous operas and opera singers ..housed there were some of the original albeit hand written librettos from many of the operas..Siciliani was also famous for saying that he learned to read musical notes before he learned to read words.In 1948 Maria Callas triumphed in the opera Norma and returing home from the museum I had a strong urge to put on pot of water and make a dish of Pasta Norma…

Pasta Norma

1 pound spaghetti

1 pound fresh red ripe plum tomatoes

3 small fresh eggplants

2 cloves garlic chopped finely

1 handful fresh basil, washed and chopped

4 tblsps extra virgin olive oil

2 tblsps olive oil

Wash eggplants and slice thinly , place into a bowl of cold water with vinegar, a dash of sea salt, let soak for 2 hours. Peel tomatoes and take out seeds,cut tomatoes into small pieces. Place olive oil into saute pan with chopped garlic, heat till garlic begins to turn golden. remove from heat, place in tomatoes, chopped basil, pinch of salt and pepper, place over low to medium heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring.

Drain and dry eggplant slices and fry in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Brown on both sides and place on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Cook spaghetti till al dente.

Place spaghetti in saute pan with tomato sauce, place in eggplant slices, toss to coat pasta with tomatoes. Serve with parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Serve with a dry red wine and you may feel the urge  to break into the aria Casta Diva..from Norma of course!


See you at

Oct 7th-Williams-Sonoma Columbus Circle, NY NY at 1:30 for a cooking class, demo and book signing with  recipes from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition

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