My sister came for dinner and I made Pasta alla Norma for her. It is really one of my all time favorites. I use a Cook’s Complicated, er, Illustrated version that I, of course, futz with. Like ratatouille, it is a number of different preparations that are then assembled. I also got a loaf of Sciortino’s sublime Italian bread and made garlic bread liberally slathered with butter.
I folded the sauce into the noodles added the ricotta salata (this is some cheese the Cook’s Complicated insists is the proper cheese for the job but to me Parmesan is infinitely better), plated it up and we had salad and pasta. The bread remained in the oven and the pasta sat on the stove on low unbeknownst to me. It was not until my sister left that I realized the pasta was sizzling away blackening on the stove and the bread was, by now, deeply browned (it was in foil).
I threw a half cup of water into the pasta to loosen it from the pan and took the bread out disgusted with myself. Then I reconsidered the pasta and put it in a container for the next day.
OH MY GOD that pasta was amazing and the bread. Pure heaven. Buttery, garlicky, crunchy.