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.