Tuna and fennel spaghetti – Spaghetti con tonno e finocchietto

It is a specialty from the area of Modica known as “lasagne cacate”, and was the Sicilian farmers’ traditional dish on New Year’s Day.
Homemade lasagnas, made with eggs and flour, were traditionally prepared especially in the hinterland.

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 14 oz. of spaghetti
  • 9 oz. of fresh tuna in slices
  • 1 small bundle of wild fennel
  • 1.7 oz. of pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp of capers
  • 1 lb of peeled tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 glass extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • dry white wine
  • salt
  • paprika

Preparation
Remove tops and wash the wild fennel; boil in plenty of salty water, drain (keeping some of the liquid) and mince. Soak the tuna in cold water for about twenty minutes; dry and dice. Sautè the crushed garlic in a saucepan with the oil and the minced onion. Add the farmer fennel, the capers and the pine nuts. Let the flavors marry a little, and add the tuna, sprinkle with some wine and let evaporate. Add the chopped and seedless tomatoes; add salt, flavor with a pinch of paprika and simmer for about 1/2 hour, incorporating ( if necessary) some spoons of warm water. Cook the spaghetti “al dente” and season.

Variation
You can enrich this recipe with 1/2 fried diced eggplant and a handful of toasted and minced almonds.

Spaghetti with sea urchins – Spaghetti ai ricci di mare

Fresh sea urchins are necessary to prepare this dish. Open them with the special utensil or with a pair of scissors and you scoop the eggs out with a teaspoon.

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 14 oz. spaghetti
  • 80 sea urchins
  • 1/2 glass extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • parsley
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 oz. chopped almonds (optional)

Preparation
Carefully open the sea urchins and scoop the eggs out putting them in a bowl. Crush the garlic in a mortar with a pinch of salt; in a bowl combine the mixture and some minced parsley, oil (slightly heated bain-marie), a dash of pepper and, if you like, the almonds. Combine the mixture and the sea urchin eggs and let rest. Cook the spaghetti in abundant salty water; drain at “al dente” and season with the mixture.

Variation
You can enrich the seasoning with the pulp of two big mature tomatoes, finely chopped.

Spaghetti with garlic and oil – Spaghetti aglio e olio

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 14 oz. spaghetti
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 glass extra virgin olive oil
  • grated pecorino
  • salt
  • pepper or Cayenne pepper TT

Preparation
Slice and brown the garlic in a frying pan with the oil and, if desired, the chopped Cayenne pepper. Sautè the garlic until translucent and lightly browned. Do not overcook. Boil the spaghetti in salted hot water ” al dente” strain, and mix with the prepared seasoning (without the Cayenne pepper). Sprinkle with plenty of freshly ground black pepper (if you did not use the Cayenne pepper); sprinkle with pecorino and serve.

Pasta with Sardines – Pasta con le sarde

It is a recipe typical of western Sicily, but common to the whole island. Among the many variations there is the one using tomato sauce instead of saffron. A hasty version also exists: the pasta is seasoned in the saucepan, let rest for about ten minutes then served.

Ingredients for 6 servings

  • 14 oz. bucatini (hollow spaghetti)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh sardines
  • 3 small farmer fennels
  • 1 onion
  • 1 small bag of saffron
  • 1 oz. butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 oz. of fillets of anchovy in oil
  • 1/2 glass of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • 2 oz. raisins
  • 2 oz. blanched
  • almonds
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • salt
  • pepper TT

Preparation
Clean and wash the wild fennel; then boil in abundant salty water. Strain ( reserving some of the water) and shred finely. Bone the sardines, and flake them. Slice the onion and brown in a saucepan with the oil and the minced anchovies. Add the pine-seeds, the raisins ( which must have been soaked in warm water and then squeezed), the wild fennels and the sardines. Mix, sprinkle with some wine, add salt, pepper and the saffron dissolved in 1/2 glass of lukewarm water. Let the jiuce thicken, combine the ingredients. Keep warm. Cook the bucatini in the reserved vegetable water; cook al dente, drain and toss in the saucepan with the seasoning. Transfer the pasta to a baking-pan, buttered and sprinkle with breadcrumbs; spread the chopped almonds and bits of butter and baker for about twenty minutes. The pasta with sardines flan is excellent also served warm.

Zucchini and linguine – Linguine con zucchine fritte

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 14 oz. linguine
  • 2 green zucchini
  • 1 glass extra virgin olive oil
  • parmesan (or pecorino) grated
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt
  • pepper TT

Preparation
Wash and cut the zucchini; then sprinkle with salt. Brown the crushed clove of garlic in a frying pan with oil; discard the garlic and fry the zucchini. Drip and keep warm in a dish. Boil the pasta in salty water; strain al dente and season with the same oil the vegetables were fried in; dust with pepper and toss in the zucchini.

Sciusceddu – Sciusceddu

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 9 oz. ground veal
  • 14 oz. ricotta
  • 5 eggs. parsley bu.
  • grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp
  • dried breadcrumbs 1/4 cup
  • salt
  • pepper TT

Preparation
Mix the minced veal with an egg, a handful of minced parsley, a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper, 1 spoon of grated parmesan and some breadcrumbs. Mix well, make balls as big as olives and put in a pot with the boiling broth. Separate the yolks from egg whites and whisk the egg whites until stiff. Mix the yolks with the ricotta, the minced parsley, a handful of grated Parmesan, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer the broth and rissoles to a baking-pan, preferably oven proof earthenware; add the egg whites to the mixture of eggs and ricotta. Spread over veal mixture and cover completely. Bake in warm oven for about ten minutes and serve immediately.

Garbanzo beans soup – Minestra di ceci

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 1 lb garbanzo beans
  • 1 med. onion
  • 4 mature large tomatoes
  • parsley 1 bu.
  • 1/2 cup extra
  • virgin olive oil
  • Rosemary 1 sprig
  • baking soda 1 pinch
  • salt
  • pepper TT

Preparation
Soak the garbanzo beans in water with a pinch of baking soda for one night. Standard bean cooking procedure. Sautè the chopped
onion, rosemary and parsley in a saucepan with 2/3 of the oil; add the chopped tomatoes and simmer a little. Add the well drained
garbanzo beans and cover with water; add salt and cook on moderate heat for a couple of hours. At the end season the soup with a
trickle of raw oil and a dash of ground black pepper.

Variation
Garbanzo beans soup in eastern Sicily in prepared without the tomato and, often enriched with rice.

A taste of the sun

Sicilian recipes of yesterday and today

: INTRO Hundreds of island recipes are yours to enjoy. All deeply rooted in the island’s geography and culture.The Sicilian diet is a fusion of the original cuisine and that of many influences: Arab, French and Spanish for a few. We will take you through peasant kitchens where the native dishes are designed around the local, seasonal vegetables, live stock and fish. From the noble Sicilian families, the Borboni courts, a more sophisticated cuisine, who kept French cooks called “Monsu”. Sicily has long been involved in the production of sea salt. This mineral rich salt has graced the savory flavors and enhanced the Mediterranean herbs and spices of a cuisine that embraces the earth and sea.
The first Chapter Appetizers and Side Dishes includes recipes that originated as quick, street food served from the local Deli. These dishes are migrating to the table in many restaurants, “Trattorias”. They serve such flavorful snacks as: panelle, parmigiana, and seasoned olives.
Chapter two Sicilian Breads and Pizzas, because they have the luxury, often buy bread from a local baker because he has the best flour, water, oven or the most talent. Bread in Sicily often has a unique flavor or texture suited to a recipe. This Chapter attempts to pass on this passion for the marking and enjoyment of bread.
First courses and soups: first courses are often soup or the traditional pasta. Pastas come in as many shapes and sizes as the people of Sicily. Everyone has their favorite. Other first courses have unexpected flavors like cuscus or savory flan. Meat, eggs, and fish are the topics of the forth and fifth chapters. Proteins, the second course, are most often determined by location: seashore, mountains, or rural village. Chapter six concentrates on the sauces. Mostly tomato based, Sicilians take pride in family and traditional recipes handed down from mother to daughter. Seasonal fruit usually ends a meal. Everyone everywhere enjoys dessert. Chapter seven visits seasonal feasts and religious festivals to find sweets: cheeses, creams and other ingredients in the confections of a proud tradition. Simple but healthy recipes should transport you to be “island in the sun” via the aromas and colors of the food.
English version by Cherida Bush Courtesy of coppola editore