Sicilian Pasta alla Norma

Makes 6 servings:

  • 500 grams of pasta (any type)
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes for sauce
  • 4 eggplants
  • A sprig of fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • grated parmesan
  • 6 mint leafs finely chopped

Saute the garlic and add the chopped tomatoes with a few leaves of basil.

Season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat.

When the tomato is cooked remove from heat, pass through a sieve and set aside the sauce.

Wash the eggplant, remove the stalk along with some eggplant, cut from tip to tip the skin should remain .

At this point cut the eggplant into cubes, then fry in hot oil and place them on absorbent kitchen paper and add the chopped mint.

Cook the pasta, mix it with tomato sauce and add the fried eggplant, a few pieces of basil leafs and a good sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.

Pasta con le Sarde alla Siciliana (Sicilian Pasta with Sardines)

Makes 6 servings:

  • 500 g of pasta
  • 500 g of cleaned and boned sardines
  • 50 g raisins soaked in warm water
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 1 packet of saffron
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 500 g of fresh wild fennel
  • 1/2 glass of white wine
  • 1 teaspoon of salted capers chopped

In a frying pan fry the chopped onion with some oil, then add the sardines, and if need some more olive oil, taking care to turn them often because they have to stick together’

Fry for about ten minutes, then add pine nuts, capers, raisins and saffron and mix well.

Add the wine and let evaporate a little, finally you should add the chopped fennel that has been boiled in salted water first for a few minutes.

After having drained the pasta, garnish your beautiful dish.

Buon Appetito !

Almond Cookies

  • 300 g sweet almonds
  • 20 g bitter almonds
  • 300 g sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • lemon juice
  • icing sugar

Put in a hot oven for a few minutes the almonds, remove the skins then grind in a mortar and add a little sugar at a time.

Whip the egg whites until stiff which you have added a few drops of lemon juice and stir in the almonds and sugar mixture.

Spread the mixture into pastries molds, dust with icing sugar and bake in the oven at low heat, until they have browned.

Asparagus with Prosciutto

Makes 6 servings:

  • 1 kg of asparagus or 24 pieces
  • salt
  • sugar
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 12 slices of prosciutto ham
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Clean the asparagus and peel the bottom.

Bring to a boil in a large pot of salted water with sugar and butter and cook for about 10 minutes.

Take out the asparagus from the pot under cold water and drain, wrap asparagus, two at a time in a slice of prosciutto and arrange on a plate in a decorative way.

In a blender mix the parsley, honey, balsamic vinegar and oil and serve the sauce with the asparagus bundles.

Serve cold.

Focaccia Siciliana

  • 500 g of already leavened bread dough
  • 200 g Sausage
  • 100 g of provolone cheese in slices
  • oregano
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper
  • salt

Roll out the dough with your hands till is not too thick about 1 cm, with raised edges.

Lay it on a plate greased with oil and sprinkle with pieces of sausage, slices of cheese, a pinch of oregano, salt and pepper.

Pour a little olive oil and cook the focaccia in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.

Involtini alla Messinese (Meat Rolls Messina Style)

Makes 6 servings:

  • 1 kg of thin slices of beef
  • 500 grams of bread crumbs
  • 50 g grated parmesan
  • 50 g of grated goat cheese
  • 1 clove of fine chopped garlic
  • 150 g of provolone cheese cut in cubes
  • 100 g of mortadella cut in cubes
  • 1 small bunch chopped parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Season the bread crumbs with the parmesan, pecorino, parsley and chopped garlic.

Spread the slices of meat on the work surface and spread each of them with a little olive oil. Put on top of them, a bit of seasoned crumbs a piece of mortadella and a few cubes of cheese.

Begin to wrap each slices , turning, first, the two sides to the inside and the roll them up then, from bottom to top, to form a small cylindrical roll, continue this until the end of the slices.

Sprinkle the the rolls with olive oil and dip again in the seasoned bread crumbs.

Then put 6 of them on each skew and cook on the grill or, alternatively, on the iron electric griddle.

Involtini di Carne alla Siciliana (Sicilian Meat Rolls)

Makes 4 servings:

  • 800 g of thin slices of beef (size 5 x 8 cm.) – (2″ x 3″)
  • Two large onions
  • Bay leaves
  • Grated onion
  • 350 g of bread crumbs
  • 350 g of grated pecorino cheese or semi-(or parmesan)
  • 60 g of raisins
  • 60 g of pine nuts
  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

In a frying pan with a little oil lightly fry the chopped onion, take out of the fire and mix into it the bread crumbs, grated cheese, raisins with (after being softened in warm water) and the pine nuts and season with salt and pepper.

At this point, mix everything with a little olive oil. The compound must be compact so it can be molded to form the rolls.

Prepare the rolls brushing the slices of meat with olive oil and a pinch of salt and then put down in the middle a little compound mix and wrap to form the rolls.

To prepare the kebabs take the skewer sticks, start with a square leaf of onion, a bay leaf and roll and then continue with onion, bay leaf and roll.

Compose a skewer of four rolls and end with bay leaf and onion.

Continue until all ingredients are finished.

If you prefer, you can anoint the skewers with olive oil and then pass them in bread crumbs (it enhances the softness).

Once done put them on a charcoal or gas grill.

Serve hot.

Olive alla Stimpirata

Makes 4 servings:
  • 400 g of pitted green olives lightly crushed
  • 6 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 400 g of boiled carrots
  • 150 g of capers
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • some mint leaves
  • 1 cup of wine vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Saute in a pan with a 4 tablespoon of olive oil the chopped garlic and a little time to add the other ingredients: pitted olives, capers, chopped celery, chopped boiled carrots, a few leaves of mint, salt and pepper.

Cook and blend with vinegar and leave on the stove over low heat for another ten minutes.

This olives recipe is widely used in Ragusa, is great for seasoning dishes that are eaten cold.

Pomodori Ripieni (Stuffed Tomatoes)

Makes 4 servings:

  • 4 large firm ripe tomatoes
  • 150 g bread crumbs
  • 100 g grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 small bunch of chopped parsley
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper

This is a vegetarian dish.

Cut tomatoes in half , empty them of the pulp and put aside. In a large plate place the tomatoes pulp (drained), bread, cheese, chopped parsley, chopped garlic, salt, egg, pepper and mix together.

Take the mix and gently stuff the half tomatoes. Put in a frying pan a little olive oil, let it warm up, lay the stuffed tomatoes and cook from both sides till golden brown.

Once cooked, place place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Serve hot.

Spaghetti with Prawns

  • 500 grams spaghetti
  • 400 g peeled prawns
  • 500 g peeled tomatoes into large pieces
  • 2 clove of garlic
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • ½ onion
  • Extra virgin olive
  • Salt

In a frying pan sauté the chopped onion in abundant oil, add the tomatoes without seeds and the garlic cat into small pieces.

Once the tomatoes are cooked season with salt and pepper, add the wine and cook for a few moments over high heat to evaporate the liquid, then turn the heat and finish cooking for about twenty more minutes.

Now its time to add the peeled shrimp, finely chopped parsley and cook for few more minutes.

Cook the spaghetti al dente and add them to the sauce.

Sauté over high heat for a few minutes and serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Pasta with Fried Zucchini, Tomatoes and Bacon

Makes 6 servings:

  • 500 gr. of rigatoni
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 sweet red pepper cut in thin slices
  • 250 gr. diced bacon
  • 300 gr. cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of capers
  • 1 sprig of Basil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Cut the zucchini into small cubes, then fry in abundant oil, drain and set aside.

Cook the pasta in abundant salted water. Meanwhile in a frying pan pan cook the bacon to fry without oil, after a few minutes add the tomatoes and let the juice evaporate, add salt,capers, red pepper and the fried zucchini.

When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it, taking care to keep aside some of the cooking water with its starch, pour it into the skillet and sauté, shaking the pan and season, add a little pasta cooking water (a bit at a time), to allow the fat to emulsify with the water itself and form a sauce so that flavor the pasta.

Add pepper to taste and serve with chopped basil leaves and then sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

Melenzane Impanate (Breaded Eggplant)

Makes 4 servings:
  • 3 medium eggplants
  • 3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 small bunch of chopped parsley
  • 150 g bread crumbs
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 g of grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper

Cut the eggplants in slices 1 cm thick lengthwise or crosswise, blanch them in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, place them on absorbent paper and dry them.

In a large plate place the bread crumbs, cheese, chopped parsley, chopped garlic, salt, pepper and mix together.

In a bowl put the eggs and beat vigorously.

Dip the slices of eggplant in egg and then press them from both sides on the bread crumbs mix.

Put in a frying pan a little olive oil, let it warm up, lay the eggplant and cook from both sides till golden brown.

Once cooked, place place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Serve hot.