Diversity Week Recipe #3: Fave E Cicorie And Pasta Alla Norma By Elena Giorgi

One Los Alamos is sharing recipes during Diversity Week. Pictured is Pasta Alla Norma. Elena E. Giorgi, a scientist, award-winning author and IP-awarded photographer, shared two of her favorite recipes from https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pasta-alla-norma-240254 and https://www.italianfoodforever.com/2019/11/fava-bean-puree-with-sauteed-cicoria/” Elena likes to say she spends her days analyzing genetic data, her evenings chasing sunsets and her nights pretending she’s somebody else. Courtesy photo

Pasta Alla Norma


2 large, firm eggplants

extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

optional: 1 dried red chili, crumbled

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced

a large bunch of fresh basil, stems finely chopped, leaves reserved

2 14-ounce cans of good-quality chopped plum tomatoes, or 2 cups passata or 3 cups of fresh roma tomatoes, chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound dried spaghetti

6 ounces ricotta salata, grated


First of all, get your nice firm eggplants and cut them into quarters lengthwise. If they’ve got seedy, fluffy centers, remove them and chuck them away. Then cut the eggplants across the length, into finger-sized pieces. Get a large nonstick pan nice and hot and add a little oil. Fry the eggplants in two batches, adding a little extra oil if you need to. Give the eggplants a toss so the oil coats every single piece and then sprinkle with some of the dried oregano—this will make them taste fantastic. Using a pair of tongs, turn the pieces of eggplant until golden on all sides. Remove to a plate and do the same with the second batch.

When the eggplants are all cooked, add the first batch back to the pan—at this point I sometimes add a sneaky dried red chili. Turn the heat down to medium and add a little oil, the garlic, and the basil stems. Stir so everything gets evenly cooked, then add the cans of tomatoes. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, then taste and correct the seasoning. Tear up half the basil leaves, add to the sauce, and toss around.

Get your spaghetti into a pan of salted boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. When it’s al dente, drain it in a colander, reserving a little of the cooking water, and put it back into the pan. Add the Norma sauce and a little of the reserved cooking water and toss together back on the heat. Taste, and adjust the seasoning, then divide between your plates by twizzling the pasta into a ladle for each portion. Any sauce left in the pan can be spooned over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining basil, grated cheese, and oil.

Fave e Cicorie (from Apulia)


250 Gram Package Of Dried Fava Beans

2 Small Potatoes, Peeled And Sliced

1 Large Bunch Cicoria Greens (Dandelion) these subbed with scampi shrimp to make it pescatarian

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Red Pepper Flakes

Cracked Black Pepper

3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced

Sea Salt


Soak the fava beans for at least two hours, then drain, then place the beans in a pot and top with the potatoes.

Add enough water to cover the beans and potatoes by at least an inch.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for an hour, adding more water as needed.

Taste the beans and continue to cook until very soft, another 30 minutes or so.

Drain out any water left and add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/3 cup olive oil.

Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth, (or use a hand immersion blender) then set aside.

Trim the cicoria and cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and then add the trimmed greens.

Cook, stirring every so often until the greens are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain well, cool, then squeeze out as much liquid from the greens as possible.

Add 3 to 4 tablespoon of the oil to the pot with the garlic, some black pepper, pinch of salt and red pepper flakes.

Cook until the garlic begins to sizzle, a minute or two, and then return the chicory to the pot.

Toss with two spoons to coat the greens with the olive oil garlic mixture and cook just for a minute or two until the garlic and oil mixture coats the greens.

Serve a scoop of fava puree on each plate topped with a spoonful of the sautéed chicory.

Drizzle with a little extra olive oil, and sprinkle with cracked black pepper.