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HOMEMADE SICILIAN FOOD

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Dishes

Pasta al forno

Timballo di anelletti al forno (baked pasta cake)

One of the typical dishes of the Sicilian tradition, also called “pasta al forno” (literally, pasta in the oven), is prepared with “anelletti”, special shape of paste in a ring-like form, that was used to be prepared on Sundays and holidays.

The tradition says that the first such Timballi were introduced by Arabs and soon become widespread all over the island for their easiness of transportation. In addition to the classic recipe with a meat and peas ragout, we usually add diced hard eggs, fried aubergine, cheese and diced ham.

Timballo di riso Involtini di melanzane 3

Polpettine di melanzane (aubergine balls)

As you can easily imagine, this is another very popular dish in the Sicilian cuisine, that can be eaten as a starter or main course, and is a vegetarians' favourite. The main ingredient is, of course, aubergine, that in this recipe is mixed with parmesan, breadcrumb, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. As a final touch, fw mint leaves are usually added

Timballo di riso al forno (savoury rice cake)

Rice, even though it is rarely grown in Sicily nowadays, and it is not clear the reasons why production has decreased over time, was once widely available locally. It was introduced by Arabs, and then exported into Spain by the Aragonens. Rice that has never been appreciated by Sicilians as much as pasta, is considered a quick a light ingredient (a Sicilian saying: “risu, quanto mi jsu” can be translated as “rice, time to go”, or “rice, let’s get up”). Nevertheless, there are pleanty of rice recipes in our regional cuisine.

“Timballo di riso” (rice pasta cake), traditional dish of the Sicilian cuisine, is prepared with ragout or tomato sauce, with the addition of peas, mozzarella, ham, parmesan, and then baked in the oven.

Parmigiana di melanzane

Parmigiana is an Italian vegetarian dish made with deep-fried sliced aubergines, layered with cheese and tomato sauce, then baked.

 

On “Parmigiana di melanzane” it is possible to write many things, first of all with regard to its origin, contested by Emilia Romagna, Campania and Sicily, and second about its name: contrarily to what people could think, the name “Parmigiana” does not come neither from the city of Parma, nor from Parmigiano, but rather from “parmiciana”, the set of wood strips in the Sicilian window shutters, laid one on top of the other in a similar way as aubergines are layered together with tomato and cheese.

By most people Sicily is today considered the home of the Parmigiana, were you can find the typical "Petrociana" aubergine that takes the name from the dish

Caponata di melanzane

The queen of the vegetable stews! its sweet and sour character, colourful appearance and flavour packed soul will make any vegetarian jump for joy and turn meat eaters into part time vegetarians. There are many versions of the stew on the island (apparently 37 official versions), depending on local customs. There are many theories about the origin of the name “Caponata”; one of them says that it has Catalan origin and that around 16th century the stew was made adding a fish called “capone”. However, only aristocratic families could afford to buy this kind of fish so, around the 17th century, poor families decided to use aubergines instead of fish and the stew was consumed accompanied with bread. There is another interesting thing about this stew and this is the use of raisins and pine kernels; this is probably because of the influence of the Arab occupation of the island between 827 AD and 1091 AD.

Involtini di melanzane (aubergine rolls)

Aubergine rolls are a typical starter of our island. Rich and tasty, this is something people can hardly resist. They can be prepared in two different ways: either with a pasta filling or with breadcrumb, raising and pine nuts, clearly inspired by the Arabic tradition

Tortino di ricotta e spinaci (spinach and ricotta cake)

A simple dish of the new Sicilian cuisine. Simple and suitable for freezing

Frittedda di fave, carciofi e piselli (fava beans, artichoke and peas)

“Frittedda”, that in the Sicilian dialect has nothing to do with “fritto” (fried), is a very simple dish of our tradition. It is made by the combination of these three vegetables cooked together in a shallow pan , with the addition of a bitter-sweet vinegar, thus reminding us our Saracen heritage

Lasagne 1

Lasagne

Lasagne are made by thin layers of egg-based pasta. They used to be cut in rought squares ("lozenges", from which the name "lasagne") that, once cooked, are arranged in several layers with different ingredients, depending on the local tradition. My lasagne are prepared with tomato sauce, bechamel and parmesan

Lasagne al pesto

Although not a typical Sicilian dish, this is a very popular variation of classic lasagne, with bechamel, parmesan and a pesto sauce made of basil, garlic, pine nuts and extra-virgin olive oil

Polpettine 1 Frittedda 1 Lasagne al pesto Tortino di ricotta e spinaci CASSATA AL FORNO 9

Cassata di ricotta al forno

 

This is the baked version of the traditional cassata, filled with a sweet cream made of Italian ricotta, sugar and chocolate chips.

Caponata 4 Cannoli 1

Cannoli siciliani

The undisputed king of Sicilian desserts, famous all over the world: a crispy roll of fried pastry filled with sweet ricotta cream

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Sfinci di San Giuseppe

A traditional Sicilian treat originally prepared on St. Joseph's day (19 March), but now eaten all year around. It is a spongy fried puff pastry filled with ricotta cream, and we also prepare an alternative version filled with Mascarpone cream. It is decorated with other cream on top and a sprinkle of pistachios or candied fruit

Sfinci 3