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Sicilian Food


Sicilian Food

 

A fascinating History

As you might expect the local cuisine of the island has been influenced by centuries of invasion.
The Phoenicians were the first to arrive, c. 1000 BC, followed by the Greeks, Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Moors, Normans, Swabians, French and Spaniards. The majority of these occupations lasted at least 200 years. As a result Sicilian cuisine is the most interesting of all the Italian regions, since each new invasion added another layer to an increasingly rich culinary tradition.

Nowadays, all Sicilians consider food a priority; they demand high quality and often turn a blind eye to cost.
Most people prefer a super simple cuisine combining the flavors that the generous surrounding seas and strong Sicilian sun provide.

Add to the selection of our private villas and sightseeing excursions the delicious Sicilian food and you’ve got the recipe for a tasty unforgettable holiday.

Steeped in tradition and plenty of flavor, cuisine plays a central role in Sicilian culture. Sicilian food has been influenced by several cultures over many centuries and traditional recipes are passed on from generation to generation.

Ubiquitous stables are aubergines, wild fennel, citrus fruits, cherry tomatoes, almonds, pistachios, capers, olives, fresh ricotta, swordfish, tuna, sardines and shellfish.

Down on the coast fresh fish and seafood dominate most menu, in the interior of the island fish is less common but not missed, thanks to the abundance of meat, cheese and a variety of locally grown vegetables.

After all this goodness, you might still have room for dessert: pastries in Sicily is extraordinary and rich in flavor and seasonal treats.

 

Common places where you can eat

Trattoria: it is a less formal restaurant serving regional specialties

Restaurant: tends to serve a wide selection of dishes. They are usually with a focus on fish or on meat.

Pizzeria: the best place for a cheap feed, a cold beer and taste the ancient Sicilian flours.
Most are open only at night. 

Friggitoria: these street-food venues range on simple fried snacks with ultra-low prices,
usually no more than a euro or two.

Market stalls: the city markets are perfect to taste superb street food

Bar-Cafè:  they’ll serve coffee and cornetti (Italian croissants), granita and ice-creme, pastries and cakes, the famous “tavola calda” savoury snacks such us “pizzetta” (a little pizza) or “cartocciata” (bread stuffed with ham, mozzarella, olives and tomato) or “cipollina” (bread stuffed with onion, ham, mozzarella and tomato). You won’t find it in any other region of Italy perfect for a fast, cheap and tasty break.

Gelateria: ice-cream shop generally with a vast range of ice-cream flavors.
Don’t miss pistachio and hazel nut and the special “brioscia col gelato” (ice-cream served on a roll).

Every area has its own specialties. You can find them all over the Island but the best are made in their original place. 

Catania

Pasta alla norma: pasta topped with fried aubergine, basil, tomato sauce and fresh slice of ricotta cheese

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
2 large aubergines
400 gr of tomato sauce 
1 onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
A bunch of basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
80 gr grated ricotta salata (salted ricotta cheese)
400 gr rigatoni pasta

Procedure
Cut the aubergines into thin slices and fry until golden brown in olive oil. Take out and place on kitchen paper to remove some of the oil. Sprinkle with a little salt.

Finely chop the onion and the garlic and gently sweat in some olive oil. Once the onion is soft, add the tomato sauce, tear in some of the basil and season to taste. Stir well and leave to cook slowly with a lid on for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the sauce is almost ready, cook your pasta, drain and add to the tomato sauce. Mix well and place in a serving bowl. Top with the chunks of aubergine and a few torn basil leaves and take to the table with another bowl of grated salted ricotta cheese.

Buon appetito!

Caponata: coocked vegetable salade made with tomatoes, aubergines, celery, capers, olives, onions
and pine nuts

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups canned plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
12 green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon minced oregano
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoon pine nuts

Procedure
Toss eggplant with salt and place in a colander set over a bowl. Let sit, about 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion is soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl using a slotted spoon.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet. Add eggplant and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in celery mixture, tomatoes, olives, capers, tomato paste, and oregano. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until caponata is thickened, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley and pine nuts.

Buon Appetito!

Arancino: fried balls of rice stuffed with meat, tomato souse and sicilian cheese

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
For the Rice
10 1/2 ounces short-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 teaspoons unsalted butter
Fine sea salt (to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
For the Meat Sauce and Filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup yellow onion (about 1/2 small, finely chopped)
3 tablespoons carrot (finely chopped )
3 tablespoons celery (finely chopped)
3 ounces ground beef
3 ounces ground pork
2 tablespoons dry red wine
1 cup tomato purée
1/3 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
For the Rice Balls
4.4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup water
Pinch salt
2 cups breadcrumbs
2 inches neutral vegetable oil (for frying)

Procedure
Make the Rice
Gather the ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, place the rice, saffron and 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer about 15 to 20 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove lid, stir in grated Parmigiano, butter, salt, and pepper, to taste.
Spread the rice out on a large plate or baking dish to cool completely to room temperature.

Make the Meat Sauce and Filling
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté, stirring often, until softened and the onions are translucent - about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the ground beef and pork and fry, stirring often, until browned - about 5 to 8 minutes.
Add the wine and let cook until the alcohol aroma has reduced - about 1 minute.
Stir in the tomato purée, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally - about 10 minutes.
Add the peas and continue to simmer the sauce for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the peas are tender and the sauce is thickened.
Transfer the filling to a bowl and set aside to let it cool.

Assemble and Fry the Arancini (Rice Balls)
Once the rice and filling are completely cooled, start shaping your rice balls:
Place 1 heaping tablespoon of rice in the palm of one hand, then use your fingers and thumb to shape it into a hollow bowl shape.
Place about 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center and 1 to 2 small cubes of diced fresh mozzarella.
Then gently close the rice around the filling to form either a round ball shape or a cone/pear shape.
When all of your arancini have been formed, whisk together the flour, eggs, 1/2 cup of water, and a pinch of salt in a shallow bowl until smooth.
Spread the bread crumbs in a plate or baking dish.
Gently roll each ball first in the egg-flour-water-salt mixture, letting any excess drip off. Then roll them in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated.
At this point, you can refrigerate your arancini for 20 to 30 minutes to let them firm up if they seem a bit too loose or liquidy. If not, you can go directly to frying. Heat about 2 inches of neutral frying oil to 360F. Fry your arancini in batches of just 2 to 3 at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot until they are evenly golden-brown - about 3 minutes.
Transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and serve them hot.

Buon Appetito!

Parmigiana: Backed layers of eggplants with tomato and cheese 

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
For the Eggplants
2 1/2 pounds eggplant (about 2 to 3 medium eggplants)
salt to taste (coarse)
For the Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic (peeled  and finely minced)
1 small onion (peeled and finely chopped)
2 cups tomato puree (passata di pomodoro)
salt to taste
For the Parmigiana
2 small eggs
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated)
1 9-ounce ball mozzarella (fresh, soft; preferably buffalo mozzarella)
Optional: 1 cup fresh small basil leaves, washed dried and coarsely chopped

Procedure
To prepare the eggplants
Wash and dry the eggplants. Slice off the cap end and then slice the eggplants lengthwise into 1/4-inch (1/2 centimeter) thick slices. Arrange the slices on large trays or baking sheets lined with several layers of paper towels, and sprinkle them with lightly coarse salt on both sides. Set aside for 30 minutes to let the salt draw out the excess water.
After an hour, pat/wipe excess water and salt off of the eggplant slices, rinse them, then dry them well with paper towels, pressing down to dry them thoroughly. Set aside and make the tomato sauce.

To make the tomato sauce
Heat the olive oil in a medium pot with the minced garlic and chopped onion.
Saute over medium heat until onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato puree. Season to taste with salt, then cover and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce is flavorful and slightly thickened. Meanwhile, fry the eggplants.

To fry the eggplants
Heat about 1/4  inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
When hot, fry the eggplant slices, 2-3 at at a time, until well browned on each side (give each slice a final pat-down with a paper towel before frying -- if they're not as dry as possible, they won't brown well and might cause the oil to spatter), about 3 to 5 minutes.
As you remove each fried slice, let it drain on a paper-towel lined plate or tray. Adjust the burner temperature and oil level as you fry to keep them constant.

To assemble the parmigiana
Preheat the oven to 250 F (180 C).

Cover the bottom of a small 8-inch by an 11-inch rectangular baking dish with a thin layer of the tomato sauce, then cover that layer of sauce with a horizontal layer of fried eggplant slices .

Cover the eggplants with a layer of tomato sauce, then a generous sprinkling of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a sprinkling of chopped basil (if using), then pieces of mozzarella (you can tear off pieces with your hands for this), distributed evenly.

Cover the mozzarella with another layer of eggplant, then tomato sauce, Parmigiano, basil, mozzarella, and another layer of eggplant.

Repeat until ingredients are used up. The top layer should be a layer of the eggless tomato sauce, topped with a final sprinkling of grated Parmigiano (if you prefer a cheesier topping, you can also sprinkle some mozzarella pieces on top.

Bake for 30 minutes; the cheese on top should be melted and golden brown.

Buon Appetito!

Carciofi ripieni: Artichokes stuffed with breadcrumb and cheese

Receipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
8 medium sized artichokes
1 pound plain bread crumbs
1/4 pound grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Cheese
2 Cloves finely chopped garlic
parsley
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Procedere

Clean the artichokes by removing the harder outer leaves and cutting the stem and the top part of the leaves as they may have thorns. Wash and drain the artichokes well.

In a saute` pan put the bread crumbs and the garlic. Saute` until the bread crumbs are lightly golden.  Let cool off. Add to the bread crumbs the finely chopped parsley, salt & pepper as desired, a bit more finely chopped garlic, the grated cheese and some olive oil. Mix the ingredients very well until the oil is evenly absorbed.

Take each artichoke, open the leaves as much as you can and insert among the leaves the bread crumb mixture.

Place the artichokes in an oven pan and add 1 1/2 inches of water. Place the pan on the stove and cook for 15 mins.

Finish off by putting the pan in the oven for 15 more mins. at 250 F.

Buon Appetito!

Carciofi arrostiti: roasted Artichokes

Receipe - Ingredients (serves 8/10 people)
10 medium-size artichokes (about 4 ounces each)
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)

Procedure
Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill for 15 minutes on medium-low.

Trim off the top inch and stem of each artichoke.  If using baby artichokes, you can grill them with leaves and stem attached.  Whisk together the olive oil, garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste. Spread the leaves of the artichoke apart with your fingers or by banging the bottom on a hard surface and pour the sauce over the top making sure it drips into all the spaces between the leaves.  Alternatively, you can vertically split the artichokes in half and coat the cut sides with the dressing.

Place the artichokes on the grill or in the embers of the coals and cook, turning, until the outside leaves are black, if cooked on a grill, or when the bottoms of the artichokes are easily pierced with a long wooden skewer, about 45 minutes for medium-size artichokes, 25 minutes for halved or baby artichokes. 
Remove, drizzle with the lemon juice mixed with oregano, if using, and serve. 
Eat the artichokes with your hands.

Mushrooms au gratin: Sicilian mushrooms baked with breadcrumns

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
500 gr of mushrooms
100 gr of breadcrumbs
a clove of garlic
 the juice of a lemon
 a few leaves of basil
an anchovy fillet
a tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Procedure
Washed and dried the porcini mushrooms, cut in half and arrange on a baking sheet greased with oil.

Finely chop a clove of garlic and a few leaves of basil, stir the mixture with four tablespoons of bread crumbs, salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the mushrooms with a little olive oil, sprinkle with the mixture of breadcrumbs and bake in the oven at 200° for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, squeeze a lemon and add, smashing it with a fork, a fillet of anchovy.

When the mushrooms are cooked and well gratin, remove them from the oven, sprinkle with the lemon juice and serve.

Buon Appetito!

Spaghetti al nero di Seppia: tender fresh squid is cooked in a sauce containing its own ink.

Receipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
1 1/4 pounds squid (extremely fresh, uncleaned)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic (peeled, minced)
1 small bunch parsley (minced)
Black pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (diluted in a little water, or 3 tablespoons tomato sauce)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 to 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
3/4 pound spaghetti
Fine sea salt (to taste)

Procedure
To begin cleaning the squid, carefully separate the heads from the tentacles. Remove the guts, setting aside the ink sacs (be careful not to break them). Wash the squid well under cold water. Dice the bodies and chop the tentacles.

Over a small bowl, open the ink sacs and collect the ink.

In a pot, heat the oil and sauté the garlic without letting it brown. Add the squid, minced parsley, and a generous dusting of freshly ground pepper. Cover and simmer the sauce over low heat for about 45 minutes. Check it periodically to make sure it's not sticking (if it is, add a little hot water).

Once the sauce has simmered, mix the tomato paste or sauce with the white wine and add it to the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.

Dilute the sauce with a little hot water, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes longer. At this point, the sauce should be neither too soupy nor too dry.

About 30 minutes before serving time, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, add 1 to 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt, and stir. Once it's returned to a rolling boil, add the pasta.

At the same time, stir the squid ink into the sauce, adding the amount that suits your taste.

When the spaghetti is al dente (usually 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the brand), drain it well.
Toss the spaghetti with the sauce to coat all of the strands evenly.

Buon Appetito!

Frittura mista: a blend of lightly breaded and fried shrimp, squid and other small fish

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
About 6 cups vegetable or canola oil for frying
2 cups all-purpose flour
18 fresh smelts or 16 fresh sardines, cleaned, heads removed
450 gr medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied
450 gr sea scallops
450 gr fresh small squid, cleaned, bodies sliced into thin rings, tentacles reserved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 lemons, cut into wedges

Procedure
In large shallow skillet over moderately high heat, heat 3 inches of oil until it is hot.

Transfer flour to large plate. Sprinkle all seafood liberally with salt and pepper. Dredge seafood in flour, shaking to remove excess, and fry until golden and cooked through, about 20 seconds per side for whole fish and shrimp, 15 seconds per side for scallops and calamari.

Using slotted spoon, remove as done and drain on paper towel–lined plate.

Garnish with lemon wedges

Buon Appetito!

Insalata di Polpo: Fresh octopus salad

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
2 fresh or frozen octopus, about 2 pounds (900 grams) each
Salt
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced

Procedure
If the octopus is fresh, ask the fishmonger to clean it for you by removing all viscera from the head sac. If the octopus is frozen, it will have been cleaned before freezing. Thaw it slowly in the refrigerator.

Bring 4 quarts (4 liters) water to a boil in an 8-quart (8-liter) pot over high heat. Add 3 tablespoons salt. Working with one octopus at a time, pierce the head with a meat fork and dip the whole creature, tentacles first, into the boiling water. Hold it in the water for about 5 seconds, then lift it out. Repeat the dipping two times. This procedure is said to tenderize the octopus, and it causes the tentacles to curl attractively.

When both of the octopus have been dipped three times, return them both to the boiling water. Partially cover the pot and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the octopus are tender when pierced with a knife, about one hour. If you aren’t sure, cut off a small piece from a tentacle and taste it. It should offer a little resistance to the tooth, but it shouldn’t be chewy. When the octopus are done, cover the pot, remove from the heat, and let them cool completely in the water.

Cut the tentacles on the diagonal into 1-inch (2½-centimeter) pieces. Cut the head into ½-inch-wide (12-millimeter-wide] slices.

Put the sliced octopus in a bowl and add the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, and 1½ teaspoons salt. Stir well. Let marinate at room temperature for one hour, then taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

Buon Appetito!

Mussels au gratin: baked mussels with breadcrumbs

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
1 kg of fresh mussels
3 garlic segments
4 spoons of breadcrumbs
parsley
1 little piece of spicy red chili
4 spoons of extra vergine olive oil
salt

Procedure
Scrape with a little knife the surface of the mussels tests. Eliminate, detaching it, the point that pours out from each shellfish. Wash the mussels very well with the running water.

Put the mussels in a large frying pan with a piece of minced chili and a sliced garlic segment. Put the cover and let the shellfishes to open on a high flame, stirring it a pair of times.
Put out the fire and open the mussels, eliminating the empty half tests and the ones that have not been opened during the cooking.

Mince the parsley and 2 garlic segments and mix it in a cup with the breadcrumbs, the salt and the oil.

Turn on the oven at 180° and put the shellfishes on the oven plate. Put the prepared mixture on the shellfishes and cook it for 10 minutes.

Buon Appetito!

Risotto ai frutti di mare: Seafood Risotto

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
2 1/2 cups fish or vegetable stock
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/3 cups Carnaroli rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 small clams
8 mussels, scrubbed
4 ounces squid, cleaned and cut into thin rings
4 medium sea scallops
1/2 cup peeled, crushed, and seeded plum tomatoes
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Procedure
In a small saucepan, warm the fish or vegetable stock. Keep warm.

In a large saucepan over moderately low heat, warm the olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the onion, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and toast lightly for 1 minute without letting the rice or onion take on any color.

Add the wine and cook until almost completely absorbed. Add most of the stock (it should come about 1/2 inch above the rice) and bring to a simmer. Cook the risotto, stirring occasionally, until the rice has absorbed some of the liquid, about 8 minutes.

Add the clams, mussels, squid, scallops, and tomatoes, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the seafood is cooked and the rice is al dente, about 6 minutes more. As the rice continues to absorb the liquid, add more as needed.

Remove the risotto from the heat and add the parsley, garlic, brandy, olive oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir well to release the starches and make the risotto creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Buon Appetito!

Schiacciata: is the same dough of bread but stuffed with onion, potato, cheese, tomato sauce, and ground meat before being cooked

Receipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
2.5 lbs of pizza dough
2-3 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 lb ground pork
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb white potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced to ¼” thickness
750ml tomato passata (crushed tomatoes)
1 cup mozzarella, shredded and tuma cheese ( if you find it)
2 tbsp cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for cooking and drizzling

Procedure
Preheat oven to 250F.

Line a 19″X12″ lasagna pan with parchment paper and grease lightly with olive oil.

Divide the dough into 2 sections and let rest for 30 minutes covered with food-safe plastic wrap. One section will be 1/3 of the dough for the top and the other section will be 2/3 of the dough for the bottom. The bottom dough needs to be a little thicker than the top dough.

In a large frying pan, over medium heat, add 1 ½ tbsp olive oil. Caramelize the onions then set aside.

Using the same large frying pan (cleaned), add 1-2 tbsp olive oil and brown the pork and beef meats over medium heat until cooked. Season the meat with salt, pepper, granulated garlic.

Add the potatoes and allow to cook 4-5 minutes to get some color, then add the tomatoes.
Continue to cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if necessary then set aside to cool.

Roll out the ⅔ portion of the rested dough to a rectangle which is slightly larger than the pan. Place it in the prepared pan so that it fits the bottom nicely and goes up the sides of the pan.

Lightly brush the dough with olive oil.

Add the potato and meat mixture spreading evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Add the caramelized onions evenly over the surface. Add the mozzarella and  Tuma cheese (if you’ve found it) and the greated cheese to cover evenly.

Lightly press the ingredients down as you add them.

Roll out the remaining ⅓ portion of dough into a 19X12” rectangle and place on top of the mixture. Pinch the sides of the bottom dough with the top layer to form a seal all the way around the schiacciata. Using the tines of a fork, press down evenly all around the seal.

Brush the dough with a little olive oil.
Using a sharp knife, add a few slits in the top layer of dough for the steam to escape during cooking.
Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes. The dough will begin to rise.

Remove the tea towel and cover the pan with foil. Place the pan on the lower rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and move the pan to the upper rack. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the dough is crispy and browned.

Buon Appetito!

Messina

Agghiotta di pesce spada: swordfish with pine nuts, sultanas, capers, olives and tomatoes

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
2 pounds/1 kilogram of swordfish 
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large celery stick, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of capers in salt, rinsed and drained
2 ounces/60 grams of pitted green olives
1 tablespoon of raisins
1 ½ tablespoons of pine nuts
1 cup of canned tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
salt and pepper

Procedure
Start placing the raisins in a small cup with some warm water and let them soak for about 30 minutes, until soft, then squeeze them and drain well.

Rinse and drain the capers and set aside.

Chop very finely the onion, celery and garlic.

Dredge the fish in the flour.

In a frying pan, fry the pieces of fish in the olive oil and get them nice and golden on each side.
Remove the fish from the pan and let it rest on some paper towel to remove the excessive oil.

Meanwhile, in the same pan, using the residual oil sauté all the chopped vegetables until the onion starts turning translucent. Add the capers, olives, raisins, pine nuts, tomatoes, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Let cook the ingredients for about 15 minutes over medium heat, so to obtain a nice sauce.

Add about 1 cup of warm water to the pan, return the swordfish fillets in it, season them with a little more salt and pepper, then bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and let cook gently for a few more minutes, until the water is reduced and the sauce has a rather thick consistency.

Serve immediately, topping each piece of swordfish with the Agghiotta sauce.

Buon Appetito!

Suino nero dei Nebrodi: “black pig” products derived from this indigenous pork

Capretto in umido: stewed goat

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
a kilo of goat into small pieces
6 medium sized potatoes
a clove of garlic
a glass of white wine
a golden onion
two cups of vegetable broth
extra virgin olive oil as required
parsley as required
salt and pepper

Procedure
Wash the potatoes and cut them first in half and then into quarters. Saute the potatoes in a pan large enough with olive oil, turning them often: when just browned, remove and set aside.
In the same pan, with hot oil, fry the chunks of goat, turning them often on each side. Take them off and put them aside.

Coarsely chop the onion and a clove of garlic. In the same pan, lightly sauté onion and garlic with a little olive oil. Put the goat in the pan, raise the heat and deglaze with a glass of white wine. Cook for five minutes. Meanwhile, add the vegetable broth to the goat without covering it entirely. Add the salt and plenty of chopped parsley and leave one apart to use them in the future.
Cook for 30 minutes over medium heat, covering the pan half and stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes on goat, always over medium heat. Add salt and cook for 20 minutes with the lid, without stirring. Check the cooking meat and potatoes with a small skewer. After 20 minutes, add the rest of the parsley, mix and finish cooking.

 

Palermo

Pane e panelle: a chickpea fritter sandwich with optional potato croquettes, fried aubergine and lemon

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
225 grams chickpea flour
750 ml water
Fresh parsley - a handful, finely chopped
Vegetable oil for frying and greasing
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure
Bring water to boil in a saucepan. Lower heat and add chickpea flour in a slow and steady stream. Add parsley, salt and pepper. Stir constantly to avoid the formation of lumps and cook over low-medium heat for 15 minutes or until chickpea mixture has thickened and starts to inch itself away from the sides of your saucepan.

Pour mixture onto a lightly-oiled surface. Spread mixture out into a sheet with a thickness of no more than 6mm (1/4 inch). Leave to cool for at least an hour and cut into rectangles.

Alternatively, pour mixture into a lightly-oiled loaf-shaped container. Leave to cool for at least an hour, turn container upside down, remove container and slice the resulting loaf into thin slices with a sharp knife or cooking string held tautly.

Heat enough vegetable oil in a saucepan for deep-frying until the temperature is 170 degrees. Fry four panelle at a time for 1 and a half minutes or until evenly crisp and golden brown. Remove panelle with a slotted spoon onto a plate covered with absorbent paper towels. Serve hot in a panino!

Buon Appetito!

Sfincione: local form of pizza made with tomatoes, onionsand sometimes anchovies.

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
Sfincione dough
20 gr of yeast
500 ml of warm water
500 gr of soft wheat flour
500 gr of durum wheat flour
25 gr of salt
50 gr of extra virgin olive oil
Tomato puree
1.5 kg tomato pulp, made of crushed tomatoes. You can use crushed tinned tomatoes instead if preferred
3 garlic cloves, sliced
3 sprigs of basil
9 gr of salt
9 gr of sugar
olive oil
Sfincione topping
30 gr of anchovy
1.5 l passata
250 gr of Caciocavallo cheese, fresh, grated
100 gr of aged Ragusano cheese, grated
30 gr of breadcrumbs
50 gr of extra virgin olive oil
oregano, as needed

Procedure
To make the sfincione dough, dissolve the yeast in the water and leave for 5 minutes to activate.
Once the yeast has started to foam a little, add the flours, then the salt and oil. Knead well, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise for 1 hour at 30°C

Meanwhile, make the tomato puree. Lightly fry the garlic and basil in a dash of oil. Add the tomato pulp and season with the salt and sugar.
Stir well, allowing the flavours to infuse and the tomatoes to heat through (about 8 minutes), then remove the basil sprigs and transfer the sauce to a blender. Blitz until very smooth, then set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4

Roll out the dough and place in the baking tray. Garnish with the anchovy, Caciocavallo cheese, tomato puree, grated Ragusano cheese, breadcrumbs, oregano and extra virgin olive oil as needed

Bake for 25 minutes, then remove and allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Buon Appetito!

Impanata: bread-dough snacks stuffed with meat, vegetables or cheese

 

Gateau (gattò) di patate - typical Sicilian potato cake with meat ragù or cured meats

 
Recipe - ingredients (serves 12) :
1,3 kg floury potatoes
175 g  diced pancetta
250 ml milk
100 g  unsalted butter
4          eggs
2          garlic cloves, crushed
200 g   parmesan (freshly grated)
100 g   chopped Italian salami
85   g   diced provolone or caciocavallo cheese
140 g   diced mozzarella
50   g   fresh white breadcrumb 


Procedure:

Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Boil the potatoes whole, in their skins, in gently simmering water until tender – about 30-40 mins depending on size. Meanwhile, fry the pancetta cubes until golden. 

Drain the potatoes and set aside. Put the milk and most of the butter in the potato pan to warm. 

Peel the potatoes, cut into big chunks, then tip back into the pan with the milk. Mash them (as long as you’ve used a floury potato you will get a light and fluffy mash by using an electric hand whisk, or a masher).

Mix in the pancetta, eggs, garlic and all of the other ingredients except the breadcrumbs.

Use the remaining butter to butter the bottom and sides of a 23cm springform tin. Coat the inside of the tin with about ¾ of the breadcrumbs and fill with the potato mixture.
 
Smooth down the surface and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs, pressing them gently into the potato.

Bake for about 1hr 10 mins until the potato cake is set, with a slight wobble in the middle. Let it rest for 5 mins then loosen from the sides with a knife before releasing the tin. Slide onto a plate and sprinkle with the thyme leaves.

Serve hot or warm. Can be prepared up to the end of step 3 the night before and kept covered in the fridge.

Buon Appetito!

 

Pasta con le sarde: pasta with sardines, pine nuts, raisins, wild fennel and roasted breadcrumbs

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4)
400 gr thick spaghetti
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 bunch of wild fennel
30 gr raisins
30 gr pine kernels
2 cloves of garlic
100 gr tomato sauce
70 gr breadcrumbs
Extra virgin olive oil

Procedure
First wash and then boil the wild fennel until soft. When cooked, take out of the water (but keep the water for the pasta) and put aside for later. Then, in small frying pan, toast the pine kernels until the take on a little colour and remove.

In another, larger frying pan, heat some olive oil and gently fry the chopped garlic. Add the fennel, the tomatoes, the tomato sauce, the raisins and the pine kernels and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and leave to cook, gently simmering, for about 10-15 minutes.
In the meantime, put your spaghetti on, and then take the small frying pan you used for toasting the pine kernels. Pour in the breadcrumbs and toast until golden brown. When the pasta is ready, add to the sauce and mix well. Serve and add a sprinkling of breadcrumbs on top.

Buon Appetito!

Involtini di pesce spada: thinly sliced swordfish fillets rolled up and filled with breadcrumbs, capers, tomatoes and olives.

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4) 
12 slices of swordfish (600-700g) 
Extra virgin olive oil 
Breadcrumbs 
100 gr grated cheese 
20 gr pine kernels 
20 gr raisins 
Lemon juice 
Parsley 
Salt and pepper 
3-4 cloves of garlic 
1 small onion 
4 skewer sticks

Procedure
The filling: finely chop the onion and garlic and gently fry in olive oil until soft. Add salt and pepper, the pine kernels, the raisins, the finely chopped parsley, the cheese and mix well until it is fairly solid (though not too dry).

The sword fish: using a tenderiser, flatten the swordfish fillets and then add a spoonful of the filling and roll up. Once ready roll in olive oil and bread crumbs and place 3 rolls onto each skewer, divided by a slice of onion.

Roast it and buon appetito!!

Sarde a beccafico: sardines stuffed with anchovies, pine nuts, currants, breadcrumbs and parsley

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4)
16 sardines, scaled
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ garlic clove
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
75 g (½ cup) plain flour
olive oil

Procedure
Remove the head and innards of each sardine (you may be able to do this in one action by pulling the head downwards; the innards should come too). Run your thumb from the gut cavity down to the tail to butterfly the sardines (opening them out flat). Pull out the backbones.

Put the breadcrumbs, parsley and garlic in a food processor and process finely. Place in a bowl with the parmesan, egg and salt and pepper and mix well.

Place a sardine in the palm of your hand skin-side down and put a tablespoon of breadcrumb stuffing in the centre. Flatten it out across the sardine without going right to the edges. Place another sardine on top and press it lightly to the stuffing. Repeat with the remaining sardines and stuffing.

Place the flour in a bowl and season with a little salt and pepper. Lightly dust the stuffed sardines in flour. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the sardines for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden.

Buon Appetito!

Cuddura Siciliana:  traditional baked treat served during Easter period

Recipe – Ingredients

500g of plain flour
125g of suet
100g of sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
8 eggs, hard boiled
sprinkles

Procedure
Mix the flour, sugar, suet and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Gradually add water to obtain a smooth and elastic dough. Wrap this dough in cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes

Preheat the oven to 180°C

On a floured board roll the dough and cut out the shape you prefer. Brush with lightly beaten egg yolk and place the hard boiled egg in the middle, blocking it in place using offcuts of pastry. Decorate with sprinkles and bake for 20–30 minutes.

Buon Appetito!

Cuccia Palermitana: cooked wheat with delicious sweet cream

Recipe – Ingredients (serves 6)
2 lb. of skinless wheat
4 oz. unsalted butter
Cooked Wheat – Grano
½ cup of bitter cocoa for baking or dark chocolate
¾ cup of sugar
tip of a teaspoon of cinnamon
1 ½ cups of water
1 quart of milk
5 large eggs
2 drops vanilla
zest of ½ orange

Procedure
Place a small amount of wheat in a large and shallow pan and inspect it, a little at a time, for any small stones or foreign particles.

Soak the wheat overnight, changing the water and rinsing it a few times.

In a large pot place the wheat, butter and  add enough water to cover it then add an additional 2 quarts of water. Bring it to a boil over a medium heat, lower flame and simmer until it is cooked, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir it occasionally; keep a small pot with hot water on the side to add in case the wheat absorbs all the water before it is cooked.

When wheat is cooked, if the water has not been absorbed, drain the excess water, cool it, cover and refrigerate.

In a 4 quart saucepan combine the cocoa or dark chocolate, sugar and cinnamon; add ½ cup of water, whisk it until mixture is smooth then add remaining water. Cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously. When it starts to bubble turn heat very low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Increase heat to a medium flame and add milk. Bring it near a boil, remove and reserve 1 cup of the warm milk-chocolate.

Mix the cuccia with the milk-chocolate and keep stirring.

Beat the eggs in a bowl, add the cup of the warm milk-chocolate mixture reserved, vanilla, orange zest and set aside.

Keep mixing the cuccia until it is smooth and creamy. If it becomes to dry add some milk. Taste it for sugar and add to your preference.

When the cuccia starts to bubble, turn the flame to low, blend in the eggs, stirring continuously cook for an additional 3 minutes.

The cuccia al cioccolatte is made!  Serve at room temperature or cold.

Buon Appetito!

 

Trapani

Cous cous di pesce alla trapanese: fish couscous in a broth spiced with saffron, parsley and garlic

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 8)
17 ounces boxed couscous
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
10 garlic cloves, smashed (plus 2, unpeeled)
2 onions, chopped (plus 1, halved)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 small bunch parsley, left whole, with a small amount reserved and chopped for garnish
½ cup sliced almonds
1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled
4 cups water
½ pound large head-on shrimp, heads and bodies separated
2 pounds mixed fish and shellfish, such as red snapper, sea bass, calamari, and mussels
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon, for garnish, if desired

Procedure
Cook the couscous along with the bay leaves, cinnamon, 2 cloves of unpeeled garlic, and 1 halved onion, according to package instructions. Once cooked, remove the bay leaves, cinnamon, garlic, and onion, and set aside.

While the couscous is steaming, make the fish stock: in a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and smashed garlic cloves, cook until soft, about 3 minutes.

Add the sliced almonds and peeled tomatoes, cook until the tomato starts to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add water, red pepper, salt, pepper, and the shrimp heads and bodies, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes completely break down, about an hour. Add the remaining fish and shellfish, and simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the fish and shellfish to a separate dish. Strain the fish stock. Pour 3 tablespoons of fish stock over the couscous and let sit, covered, for one hour before serving.
Serve the couscous topped with the cooked fish, garnished with chopped parsley and lemon, and with the strained fish stock on the side (for pouring over the entire dish, as desired).

Buon Appetito!

Pasta con pesto alla trapanese: pasta made with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and almonds

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
1/2 Cup Almonds
1 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced
1 (14 Ounce) Chopped Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Red Hot Pepper Flakes
1/3 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Pound Pasta (the one that you prefer, we suggest a fresh one)

Procedure
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and place the almonds on a baking sheet. Roast just until the almonds begin to brown, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Place the almonds in a food processor along with the garlic, canned tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil, and olive oil. Pulse until the mixture is finely ground but not pureed. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until it is just firm. Drain, and toss the pasta with the sauce and grated cheese.
Serve immediately, offering additional cheese at the table.

Buon Appetito!

 

Syracuse

Macco di fave: fava bean puree with wild fennel

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
500 g (1lb) fresh broad beans, shelled
4 spring onions, washed and chopped
3 wild fennel sprigs
Salt, to taste

Procedure
In a pan gently sauté the fava beans with the spring onions and the chopped wild fennel along with olive oil and salt.
After the vegetables have softened, add enough water to cover the ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer.
Cook with a lid until tender, adding a splash of water if it dries up too much.
Finish with a drizzle of fresh olive oil and croutons. Serve hot.

Buon Appetito!

Cuccia: an Arab cake made with grain, honey and ricotta

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
2 cups Wheat Berries (measured after they’ve soaked)
2 pounds Ricotta
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 t. Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Milk (optional)
Dark Chocolate
Candied Fruit (optional)

Procedure
Soak the wheat berries in water for 2 days, making sure to change the water twice a day and rinse the wheat berries.  Cover the bowl with a towel while the berries were sitting.
After they’ve finished soaking, rinse the wheat berries and put them in a pot covered with lightly salted water.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cook for about 3 hours.
They’re done when they split open and taste tender but chewy.  Let them cool a little.

Meanwhile, put the ricotta, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Beat with a hand blender until smooth and creamy.
If you’d like a thinner consistency you can add the milk. Some people like it soupy some people like it thick.
The same with the sugar and vanilla – feel free to use more or less to suit your family.

Put the ricotta mixture through a sieve. You can press it through with a large spoon right into the bowl of cooked wheat berries.

Cut up the chocolate into little pieces and the candied cherries if you’re using them. Mix together the ricotta mixture, the wheat berries and the chocolate.

Finally, add in the candied fruit if you’re using it.

Buon Appetito!

 

Ragusa

Scaccie: pancake-like discs of bread dough spread with a filling and rolled up

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
3 1⁄2 cups durum wheat flour
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 oz. caciocavallo cheese, grated

Procedure
Place flour in a large bowl and make a well in center; add 2 tbsp. oil, salt, and 1 1⁄4 cups water, and stir until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 6–8 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and basil, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, to meld flavors, about 10 minutes. Discard basil, remove pan from heat, and set aside to let cool.

Heat oven to the 250°. Transfer dough to a floured work surface, and using a rolling pin, roll dough into a 1⁄16″-thick rectangle. Arrange the dough so that the long sides are parallel to you. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over dough in a thin layer and sprinkle with 1 1⁄2 cups cheese; season with salt and pepper. Fold left third of dough toward center, spread top with 1⁄4 cup sauce, and sprinkle with 5 tbsp. cheese; season with salt and pepper. Fold right third over center to meet left edge, and repeat with sauce, cheese, and salt and pepper. Fold in top and bottom so they meet in center; spread top with remaining sauce and cheese; season with salt and pepper. Fold top half over bottom half, like closing a book, and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200° and continue baking until dough is set and slightly charred, about 60–65 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing into squares and serving.

Falsomagro: a stuffed roll of minced beef, sausages, bacon, egg and pecorino cheese.

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
600 gr veal (one very thin slice)
250 gr minced veal
100 gr skinned sausage
100 gr cooked ham
50 gr diced salami
3 slices of bread soaked in milk, then squeezed
100 gr diced Caciocavallo or caciotta cheese
5 hard-boiled shelled eggs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 raw eggs
400 gr tomato puree
3 tablespoons tomato paste (or tomato concentrate)
½ glass red wine
1 sliced onion
extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, basil and water
1 bay leaf

Procedure
Put the minced veal, skinned sausage, soaked and squeezed bread, diced salami, diced Caciocavallo cheese, grated Parmesan and raw eggs in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands.

Flatten the veal slice on a chopping board, cover with ham slices and then spread the filling evenly over that, leaving a 3cm gap at one end for sealing. With your hand make a small indent parallel to the short end (with filling to edge) and place the hard-boiled eggs in the indent. Roll the roast up, tying it firmly using string.

Brown the sliced onion in a large saucepan then add a little oil. Add the falsomagro roast and let it brown on all sides. Sprinkle with wine and cook on a low heat until it evaporates. Add the tomato paste, diluted with water, tomato puree, a bay leaf and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Cover the saucepan and cook on a low heat for approximately 30 minutes. Add some basil leaves and some salt if necessary.
Cook the roast for a further 30 minutes on a low heat, always keeping it covered with a lid.
Serve the falsomagro in slightly thick (1.5”) slices with its gravy. Use the remaining sauce as a pasta sauce.

Buon Appetito!

Coniglio all’agrodolce: rabbit marinated in a sauce of red wine flavoured with onions, olive oil, bay leaves and rosemary and then it is made sweet-and-sour

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
1 rabbit (about 700g) cut into 8 pieces (ask your butcher to do this for you)
75 gr (½ cup) plain flour
60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
20 gr butter
150 gr prosciutto, chopped
2 juniper berries
5 black peppercorns
3 thyme sprigs, plus extra to serve
60 ml (¼ cup) white wine vinegar
¼ cup raisins
1 tablespoon sour cherries
40 gr (¼ cup) pine nuts, toasted
25 gr (¼ cup) walnuts, toasted, chopped
60 gr dark chocolate, (70% cocoa solids) finely chopped

Procedure
Season the rabbit with salt and pepper, toss in the flour to coat and shake off excess. Heat oil in a large deep frying pan over high heat. Cook rabbit, turning, for 5 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.

Reduce heat to medium, add carrot, celery, onion, garlic and butter, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion is light golden. Add prosciutto, juniper berries, peppercorns and thyme, and cook for a further minute or until fragrant. Return rabbit to pan and add sugar, vinegar and 500ml water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook. covered, for 45 minutes, or until rabbit is tender.

Add raisins, cherries, nuts and chocolate. and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until chocolate is melted and sauce is slightly reduced. Season and top with extra thyme sprigs to serve.

 

Enna

Famous for meat, sausages accompanied by mushrooms and fresh vegetables such as fava beans and wild asparagus

Frascatula: a thick soup usually made with broccoli, chilli, garlic, wild fennel, lard and semolina flour

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
1-2 bunches of broccoli
½ pound of corn meal
Ragusano cheese, grated
4 cups of water
extra virgin olive oil
Season salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Procedure
Wash broccoli removing stems from florets. Remove the outer skin from the stems and cute into inch pieces. Bring a large pot of salted water (a little over 4 cups) to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until fork tender.
Reduce and begin slowly adding corn meal and whisking vigorously, as you would for pollenta (to prevent sticking). Add more water if consistency is too thick. Add grated cheese, season salt, freshly ground black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately as a main course or as a side dish.

Buon Appetito!

 

Caltagirone

Pasta cu maccu: pasta with purèed fava beans

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
500 gr dry fava beans
1 or 2 bunches of wild fennel
200 gr of pasta (chopped spaghetti, small tagliatelle or another type of short pasta)
4 spoons of extra vergin olive oil
salt and pepper
grated caciocavallo cheese (optional).

Procedure
Leave the fava beans to soak overnight in cold water. The following day move them in a pan with abundant water and put it on the flame, up to the boiling point; add the fennel (previously washed and chopped) and cook on a low shielded flame, for a couple of hours, mash them with a wooden spoon from time to time.

Add salt and pasta in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Sprinkle the soup with ground black pepper (better if fresh grounded) and dress with oil. Add caciocavallo cheese if you like.

Buon Appetito!

Piruna: calzoni filled with spinach and other vegetables

 

Caltanissetta

Pasta with cauliflawer: pasta cooked with cauliflower, anchovies and raisins

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
a medium-sized green romanesco cauliflower
350 gr of bucatini or other pasta of your preferred format
1 Golden onion
a handful (abundant) raisins and pine nuts
12 saffron pistils
2 desalted anchovies Cetara
extra virgin olive oil as required
salt and freshly ground black pepper
20 gr of butter (Optional)
50 gr of grated cheese (or with cheese)
 
Procedure
Heat a large saucepan with salted water: clean cauliflower, peeling off the tops and pelandole from the outer husk and wash it under running water and place it in the boiling water. Cook until tender and drain keeping aside all the cooking water.
 
Meanwhile, chop thinly the onion in a pan put 4 or 5 tablespoons of oil to heat. Add the onion and let it dry over low heat until it becomes transparent. Add the anchovy fillets and let them ' dissolve’ in the oil over low heat, making sure that you do not burn and finally the pine nuts with raisins. Add the cauliflower and some’ of its cooking water in which you have dissolved saffron. The Cauliflower will cook almost until it becomes a cream: help gradually adding a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Add salt at the end, because they are tastier and the cooking water with you is stretched’ the gravy is salted.
 
Advanced cooking cauliflower in water throwing pasta, drain it al dente keeping aside still the cooking water, and put it in the pan with the cauliflower: Let it thicken by adding butter and, If necessary, a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Place on the plate and sprinkle with a little’ ground black pepper and grated caciocavallo.

Buon Appettito!

 

Popular through the island

Cassata: ricotta cake, mixed with sugar and vanilla and decorated with colourful candied fruit on brightly painted icing and marzipan. The cassata has gone global. The real Cassata Siciliana is a sponge cake soaked in liqueur; it is layered with ricotta cheese and covered in almondpaste. There's some icing on top and it is studded with fruits and other sweet things. 

Recipe - Ingredients for the sponge cake
One 10-inch round cake tin
Two eggs
120 gr sugar
120 gr butter
120 gr flour
Two tsp baking powder
Two tbsp milk

Ingredients for the filling and decoration:
250 gr fresh ricotta cheese
400 gr icing sugar
200 gr almond paste
100 gr dark chocolate chips
Green food colouring
Candied fruit
One tsp glucose syrup

Procedure
Step 1: the sponge 
Beat the sugar and butter in a bowl until soft and creamy. Mix in the eggs and milk followed by the flour and baking powder and mix well. Line the cake tin with greaseproof paper, add the mixture and bake at 170° C for around 25/35 mins. When ready, remove from tin and leave to cool.

Step 2: preparing the setting dish
Take a 9-inch curved dish (soup bowl) and line with cling film making sure to leave some cling film over hanging.

Step 3: colour the almond paste green
Roll out into an 10-inch circle and place it in the setting dish.
Cut the sponge cake in half and lay one half on top of the Almond paste.

Step 4: the filling
Place the Ricotta cheese and 250 gr of icing sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy. Mix in the chocolate chips and pour the mixture into the setting dish. Place the remaining piece of sponge cake on top of the mixture to form a lid. Pull the overhanging pieces of cling film towards the centre completely covering the sponge and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Step 5: the icing
Add one tsp of liquid glucose to the remaining 150gr of icing sugar and very carefully, while mixing, add a few drops of water at a time until you achieve a syrupy consistency.

Step 6: remove the cake from the fridge
Undo the cling film parcel and place a cake board on top. Turn over and remove the bowl and cling film. Pour the icing onto the Almond paste and using a pallet knife spread the icing until the cake is completely covered. Decorate with candied fruit and serve.

Buon Appetito!

Cannoli: pastry tubes filled with sweetened ricotta and sometimes finished off with candied fruit, chocolate pieces or crumbled pistachios

Recipe - Ingredients (serves 4 people)
For the sh

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