Google+ Cave Food Kitchen

"Pasta" alla Norma

During a recent holiday in Sicily, I fell in love with the local cooking (check this beauty for example) and a typical Sicilian pasta dish from the Catania region, is called Pasta alla Norma.

The name supposedly comes from the opera Norma, and is based on the ever popular eggplant and ricotta. Ricotta is a whey cheese, usually made from sheeps milk, and it's extremely versatile. People
with a (moderate) lactose intolerance might even be able to handle ricotta, since the lactose amounts are rather low. More on what types of cheeses to eat with lactose intolerance in this article.

In this recipe, I WILL include ricotta, but you can leave it out or opt to make my dairy-free cheese recipe first and add that in.


2 medium eggplants
600 grams peeled tomatoes
fresh basil leaves (about 10)
1 onion
200 grams ricotta (salata)
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp lucuma powder *
olive oil

First, peel the eggplants and cut into slices. Place them in a colander and sprinkle some salt on each
layer. When done, place a plate on top of the slices and a heavy abject to press some of the liquid out of the eggplant. This will take about an hour. Afterwards, rince the slices off and pat them dry.

Meanwhile, chop up the onion and cook in a bit of olive oil until translucent. Add the salt, pepper, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and lucuma powder and let it slowly simmer.

* If you can't find lucuma powder, you can also use another type of sugar.

Cook the eggplant in a separate pan in a bit of oil until brown, then remove from the pan and cut up into smaller pieces. If the eggplant has soaked up a lot of oil, place them on a piece of paper towel to drain out some of the oil.
Add the eggplant in with the sauce, and let it simmer again for at least 20 minutes.

Serve on top of a gluten free pasta, shirataki noodles or zucchini noodles. Garnish with some basil.
Optional: crumble a bit of the ricotta on top of the sauce.

Lamb Pastilla

To be honest, I don't cook lamb very often, not that I don't like it, but it's a meat with a distinct taste and I'm not always sure what to do with it :-)
But when I saw a cooking show that was showing how to make a pastilla, I started thinking on how I could fit that into the paleo diet and figured it wouldn't be too difficult.

Pastilla is a traditional Moroccan dish, and is basically a meat-pie, usually with chicken. It combines sweet and salty, something you see often in the Moroccan cuisine.
Again, this recipe uses lamb, but you could use any type of meat, for example left-overs.

To make 5 pastilla's

600 grams of lamb, preferably cut into small strips
1 onion, chopped
60 grams of raisins
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
coconut oil to cook with
olive oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
5 sheets of coconut wraps

In some oil, cook the onion with the turmeric & cinnamon until tender, then add in the garlic and cook for 5 more mins. The add in the lamb & caraway seeds and cook the lamb until fully cooked.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 160C and take a shallow oven-dish and drizzle it with some olive oil.

When the lamb is done, add in the raisins and mix thoroughly. Now take
a Paleo Wrap and scoop some lamb mix on it, and fold the sheet closed like an envelope. When you've filled all the sheets, place them with the fold down in the oven-dish and brush a little olive oil on the outside. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and bake then for about 20-25 until they get brown.

** If you eat dairy, a nice extra is to add some crumbled feta cheese into the lamb, so the sweet/salty combination is even stronger!

Serve this with some green beans and a refreshing cucumber/tomato/mint salad.