Sicilian Recipes – Food and Wine

One of the most important aspects of Sicilian cuisine is the quality of the ingredients used. All our recipes are local, some invented by us (here in Sicily), and others passed on to us by grandma or chefs.

Sicily, like many other areas of Italy, still follow the seasons very closely. It is virtually impossible, for example, to find non-seasonal fruit or vegetables in most greengrocers’. The result is that ingredients are fresh, often produced in Sicily (or Italy) and are wonderfully fragrant and tasty. So, to get the best out of our recipes you should buy fresh, in-season ingredients where possible.


V = vegetarian (i.e. no meat and no fish/seafood)
VO = vegetarian option possible with the omission of one or two non-fundamental ingredients
VE = vegan
VEO = vegan option possible with the omission of one or two non-fundamental ingredients

In Sicily, Food and Wine are more than a source of sustenance, they are a real lifestyle!

In Sicily, fine wine is something to share with friends over good conversation, while meals bring together families for event that last well into the night.

Given that has been this way for thousand of years, it’s no wonder that the Food and Wine Tours of Sicily are truly legendary.

A slow tourism through the Sicilian provinces, that will take you between dairy farms, olive oil and oil mill, wine and wineries of excellence, a feast for all five senses. An itinerary — split into private tour and small size group tour — to spend unique moments according to your needs. travel between extraordinary scents, flavors and wines, from the west to the south and then to the east of Sicily, with an itinerary studied and tested, to offer an authentic food and wine experience!

Antipasti, snacks and light bites

Sicilian Frittella

(Warm fava bean, pea and artichoke salad)

V / VE

Ingredients (serves 6)
500g fresh peas
800g fresh fava beans
6 artichokes
salt and pepper
olive oil
1tbsp white wine vinegar
A handful of mint
A few shallots

Clean the artichokes and take off any hard leaves or spiky parts. Cut them into bits and soak them in water and lemon juice for about 15 minutes. Shell the peas and the fava beans.
Lightly fry the chopped shallots in olive oil until soft and add the artichokes, the peas, the fava beans and a glass of water. Add salt and pepper to taste and cover with a lid. Cook on a low flame for about half an hour, stirring every 5 minutes and ensuring there is always some liquid (if necessary add more water). Chop the mint and soak in a drop of warm water. Add the vinegar to the mint, stir well and add to the artichokes, peas and fava beans and cook for another couple of minutes. By the end of cooking the liquid should have almost disappeared though frittella should not be dry. Before serving, add a good dribble of extra virgin olive oil and, optionally, a few wafer-thin slices of Parmesan.

Insalata Eoliana

(Aeolian salad)

VO / VEO (omit the anchovy fillets)

Ingredients (serves 4)

200g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tropea or other red onion
a small handful of capers
8 slices of lightly toasted bread
1 clove of garlic (crushed or chopped very finely)
8 anchovy fillets chopped into largish pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

While toasting the bread (thickish slices), halve the cherry tomatoes, crush or finely chop the garlic and chop the anchovy fillets into large pieces. Cut the onion into thin rings and then place all the ingredients together in a bowl. Add some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

When the bread is toasted put onto 4 plates, dribble with olive oil, add a few spoonfulls of salad on top and serve.

Polpo alla Siciliana con patate

(Octopus salad with warm potatoes)

Ingredients (serves 4-6 people)
1kg octopus
750g potatoes in small cubes
1 stick chopped small
75gr stoned green and black olives
1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
Juice of 3 lemons
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Finely chopped chili pepper (optional)

First, ask you fishmonger to prepare the octopus so that it’s ready for cooking. Every chef has his own way of tenderizing an octopus before cooking but one simple way is to dip it into boiling water several times for about 10 seconds each. Then place it in a large pan of boiling water (no salt!) and leave to cook for for about 1 hr or until you can easily prick it with a fork. Leave to cool in the water and then drain and chop into pieces of about an inch long.

While the octopus is cooling, bring another pan of water to the boil, add a teaspoon of white wine vinegar, salt well and add the cubed potatoes. When ready, drain and leave.

In the meantime, get a large mixing bowl and add several tablespoons of olive oil, a good pinch of salt, some chopped parsley, some black pepper and a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice. Mix well. Here you can add the finely chopped chili if you want a little kick.

Put the octopus back into a pan of hot water to warm up for a minute or two, drain well and add to the mixing bowl along with the potatoes.

Then add the olives and the celery and mix well. Spoon onto a serving dish, pour any extra olive oil mixture on top, add a little more chopped parsley and one final dribble of olive. Serve with a good glass of white Inzolia wine!


Deep-fried rice balls filled with meat sauce or mozzarella, ham and butter.

Ingredients for 10 “arancine”
400g of arborio rice
1 sachet of saffron
A few spoonfuls of thick bolognese sauce with peas (prepared separately) OR a 200g mix of mozzarella, ham and butter chopped together.
100g grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg
300g breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
A little olive oil
Vegetable oil for frying

Cook the rice with the saffron in salted water until soft and yellow. Drain well and add a dribble of olive oil to prevent the rice sticking too much. Then add the grated cheese, some freshly ground black pepper and mix well. Leave to cool. In the meantime, beat and season the eggs. When the rice is cool, wet one hand and spread some rice (about 2cm thick) on it. Add a dollop of Bolognese sauce (or the mozzarella, ham and butter mix) in the middle and close the rice into a little ball about the size of a small orange, making sure the contents stay inside. When all 10 rice balls are ready, roll them one by one in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs. Fry (preferably deep fry) in hot oil until golden brown and place on kitchen roll to remove any excess oil. Serve while hot and crunchy.

Insalata alla Palermitana

(Salad, Palermo style)

VO / VEO (omit the anchovy fillets)

Ingredients (serves 4)
100g waxy potatoes
100g green beans
4 anchovy fillets
100g tomatoes
Extra tasty olive oil
1 large onion
salt and peppers
A dash of white wine vinegar

Place the onion in its skin on a baking tray and put in a hot oven for about 20-30 minutes until it becomes slightly caramlised and soft. Boil the potatoes and the green beans in salted water, drain and leave to cool. Chop up the tomatoes and add to a large salad bowl. Then, cube the potatoes and add to the tomatoes along with the green beans. Chop up your very soft onion and add the anchovy fillets, bashing down into small pieces. Add a good lashing of excellent olive oil and a dash of white wine vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste and serve cool, either as an antipasti, as a side dish or as a main second.

Polpette di broccolo

(Cauliflower fritters)

VO (omit the anchovy fillets)

Ingredients (serves 4)
400g cauliflower
1 egg
2 anchovy fillets
70gr Parmesan cheese
1 tbs pine kernels
1 tbs raisins
30g breadcrumbs
olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook the cauliflower in slightly salted water until soft and drain well. After draining you could leave on a very low flame to evaporate any excess liquid. When dry, place in a mixing bowl and squash into a pulp with a fork. Add the other ingredients and mix well until you have a firm mixture.

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and shape the mixture into flattish balls. When the oil is hot fry the cauliflower polpette until golden brown on both sides. place on kitchen roll to remove any excess oil and serve as a mouth-watering starter.


Zuppa di lenticchie Siciliana

VO / VEO (omit the bacon and exchange beef stock for vegetable stock or plain water)

(Sicilian lentil soup)

Ingredients (serves 4 people)
250g dried lentils
50g smoky bacon, diced small
1 onion, chopped
1 small chili pepper chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic
1 large carrot, diced small
A few sprigs of wild fennel, chopped
A bouquet garni of 1 sage leaf and 1 bay leaf rolled around a small sprig of rosemary and tied with string
1 glass red wine
500ml beef stock
150g ditalini or other small pasta
A squirt of tomato concentrate
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Gently fry the bacon in a little olive oil and then add the chopped onion, garlic, diced carrot and chilli pepper. When the onion is soft, add a glass of red wine. Reduce and burn off the alcohol. Stir and add the hot beef stock. Rinse the dried lentils well and add to the pot, along with the fennel, the bouquet garni and the tomato concentrate. Season, bring to a gentle simmer and leave to cook for about 30 minutes. If after this time you feel it needs more liquid, add a little more stock. Bring to a boil and add the ditalini pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente and serve, adding a good dribble of extra virgin olive oil.

Zuppa di fagioli

VO / VEO (omit the bacon and exchange chicken stock for vegetable stock or plain water)

(Bean soup)

Ingredients (serves 4)
300gr mix of dried borlotti and cannellini beans soaked overnight
1 onion
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 tin of tomatoes
A squirt of tomato concentrate
50gr of cubed bacon
About 1 litre of chicken stock
2 glasses of white wine
A couple of leaves of sage
Salt and pepper

Fry the cubes of bacon and then add the onions, the garlic, the carrot and the celery. When the onion is soft, add the white wine and evaporate the alcohol. Then add the beans, the tomatoes, the chicken stock and the sage. Season, bring to a gentle simmer and leave to cook without a lid for around 1.5 hours, or at least until the beans are well cooked and the liquid has thickened.

Pasta dishes

Busiate al Pesto Trapanese

V / VEO (exchange the egg pasta for pasta made without eggs)

Serves 4
1 quantity of pesto trapanese (see below)

For the busiata pasta:
175g semolina flour
75g ‘00’ flour plus extra for dusting
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Put all the pasta ingredients plus 3oz. of water into a food mixer with a paddle and whiz until everything comes together in a dough, then leave it to rest for 20 minutes.

Have ready a baking sheet, dusted with flour. To form the busiate, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 2mm thick. Cut it lengthways into strips 1cm wide. Take each strip and coil it tightly along the length of a large skewer or clean knitting needle. Roll the skewer or needle gently over your work surface, so that you flatten the pasta slightly and help the coil of pasta to stick to itself, then push it gently off the skewer or needle and lay it on the floured baking sheet. Repeat with all the strips of pasta, laying them on the sheet in a single layer to dry for about an hour, until they hold their shape.

For the pesto trapanese:

Makes about 600g
75g almonds
500g plum tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
40g fresh mint, shredded
50ml olive oil

Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Lay the almonds in a single layer on a baking tray and put into the oven for about 8 minutes. As long as they are in a single layer you don’t need to turn them. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn, and when they are golden, take them out and
chop them.

Put the tomatoes into a pan of boiling water for 10 seconds, then drain them under cold water and you should be able to peel them easily. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and chop the flesh.

Grind the toasted almonds with the garlic, using a pestle and mortar, until you have a paste. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and mint and pound again very briefly, just to crush the tomatoes a little. Then add the olive oil a little at a time, working it into the paste.

Putting everything together:
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add salt. Put in the busiate and cook
for about 5 minutes, or if using packet pasta, for 1 minute less than directed.
Drain lightly, put back in the pan, add the pesto, and toss all together.

Serve and enjoy!

Spaghetti con ragù di triglie

(Spaghetti with red mullet sauce)

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the fish stock
The heads and bones of the red mullet
1 litre water
3 glasses of white wine
A few slices fennel
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper

For the sauce
10 red mullet
400g spaghetti
Half a red onion, chopped finely
2 small anchovy fillets (the ones under oil)
50g cherry or datterini tomatoes, halved
50g crushed, toasted almonds
1/2 litre fish stock
1 clove garlic, crushed
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
Extra virgin olive oil
A handful of parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Ask your fishmonger to fillet the red mullet and to put the heads and bones in a separate bag. To make your stock, simply put all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Leave for about an hour until the quantity has halved. Taste, season with salt and pepper if necessary and cook for a few minutes more. Then strain the stock making sure no bones get through.

Put half the stock in your pasta pan and top up with enough water in which to cook the spaghetti.

Now it’s time to make the sauce! Put the chopped onion and the anchovy fillets to a large frying pan and gently fry until the onion is soft and the anchovies have melted. Add the garlic and the chilli and cook for another couple of minutes. Then add the tomatoes and a good ladle or two of your fish stock. At this point you can bring your pasta water to a boil and start cooking the spaghetti. When the tomatoes begin to break down, add the red mullet fillets and cook on a low flame for about 10 minutes. Break them up with a fork and mix well. You should now have a fairly thick sauce with chunks of red mullet. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Drain your pasta (when al dente), keeping a little bit of the water to one side. Add the spaghetti to the frying pan with the sauce, add the chopped parsley and toss well. If necessary add a little pasta water to loosen the sauce. Serve with a sprinkling of the toasted crushed almonds and a good white wine.

Pasta alla Norma

V / VEO (omit the ricotta cheese)

Ingredients (serves 4 people)
2 large aubergines
3 tins chopped tomatoes
1 onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
A bunch of basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
80g grated ricotta salata (salted ricotta cheese)
400g rigatoni or, if you can get them, fresh caserecce or maccheroncini

Cut the aubergines into small cubes 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 tinned tomatoes, tear in some of the basil and season to taste. Stir well and leave to cook slowly with a lid on for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the sauce is almost ready, cook your pasta al dente, 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!

Risotto con gamberi e zucchine

(Prawn and courgette risotto)

Ingredients (serves 4 people)
150g whole prawns
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 courgettes, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 small chilli pepper chopped finely
1 handful of parsley
1 lemon zested
700ml fish stock (see below)
300g risotto rice (e.g. cannaroli)
A good knob of butter
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

First prepare your stock – shell your prawns, placing the prawns on a plate for later and the shells, heads, etc. in a sieve. Wash the shells etc. under running water and then place in a pan half a litre of cold water and 200ml white wine. Add half a carrot, a leg of celery, two cloves of garlic, some black peppercorns and a little parsley. Bring to a boil and leave to simmer gently for about an hour, topping up with water occasionally (during this time you can prep your other ingredients). When nearly ready, taste and adjust the seasoning, adding some salt. Then strain and keep warm on very low heat.

While the stock is bubbling away, prep your other ingredients, chopping the garlic, onion parsley and chilli, cubing the courgettes into approx. 1cm squares and zesting a lemon. As your stock reaches a point of readiness, gently fry the onion, garlic, courgettes and chilli in some olive oil. When the onion is nice and soft, add the rice and mix well. Then start adding the hot stock, little by little: one ladle at a time, stirring the rice constantly until most liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle of stock. This process should take around 20 minutes, but you should keep tasting the rice intermittently. When it is becoming creamy but al dente add the prawns, the lemon zest and the chopped parsley. Mix well, adjust the seasoning if necessary, add the knob of butter, cover with a lid and take off the heat. At this point the butter will melt into the rice, making it creamy and the prawns will cook in the heat of the rice. After a few minutes, take off the lid, mix well once more and serve, sprinkling a little more chopped parsley over each dish.

Ravioli con sugo di maiale alla Modicana

(Ravioli with a tomato and pork sauce – a speciality of Modica)

Ingredients (serves 4 people)
For the ravioli
400gr plain flour
4 eggs
400gr fresh ricotta cheese
a small bunch of marjoram, chopped
Salt and pepper

The pork sauce
100gr pork chopped into small pieces
200gr pork sausage (preferably with fennel seeds)
300gr tomato extract
1 medium onion
1 glass red wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

The sauce: chop the onion and fry gently in a large pan, traditionally a terracotta casserole dish. When the onion is nice and soft, add the pork and the sausage. Brown these and then add the red wine. When the alcohol is burned off, add the tomato extract and a glass or two of warm water. Mix well, cover and leave to cook for about 3 hours on low heat. Check occasionally and add water if necessary, though your sauce should be quick thick.

After the sauce has been bubbling away for a couple of hours, you can make your ravioli (unless you’ve bought them!). First, make a well of flour and break the eggs into the middle. Season with a little salt and pepper and then start mixing until you have a homogeneous, pliable dough. Work it well, then wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for between half an hour and an hour. While this is in the fridge, mix the ricotta with a little chopped marjoram and, if you like, a little lemon zest. Taste, and season if you think necessary Take out the dough, lay on a floured surface and start rolling out in a rectangular shape, until it is a few mm thick. Then, on half of the dough, place spoonfuls of the ricotta mix, leaving a couple of centimetres between each. You should aim to have about 7-8 ravioli per person. Then pick up the other half of the pasta and gently drape on top of the part with the ricotta mix. Press around the mix, to get out any air and make sure the two layers of pasta connect well. When you are happy with this, take a pasta cutter and cut the pasta into individual ravioli. Dust with flour so they don’t stick.

The ravioli making should ideally coincide with the end of the sauce’s cooking (after 3 hours). To cook the ravioli, simply add to a pan of boiling salted water. When they float to the top (probably after a minute or two) they are ready. Carefully drain and plate up. Then add a piece of sausage and a spoonful or two of the thick tomato-pork sauce. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan or other tasty cheese and watch the dreamy faces of your guests!


Penne con salsiccia, funghi e piselli

(Pasta with sausage, mushrooms and peas)

Ingredients (serves 4)
400g penne
100g sausage
8 mushrooms
50g peas
half an onion
2 cloves of garlic
a handful of chopped mint
1 large glass of white wine
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Skin the sausages and cut the meat into 1-inch long pieces. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the sausages. Then add the chopped onion and garlic and let soften. Add the sliced mushrooms, mix well and put a lid on, turning the heat down. When the mushrooms have shrunk, take off the lid, season with salt and pepper, turn up the heat a little and add the white wine. Let the alcohol burn off and then turn down the heat and cover again. Heat some water in a large pan and, when boiling, salt, and add the penne. Halfway through the cooking spoon a little water to the sausages and mushrooms and add the peas. Mix well again and cover. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the frying pan with the sausages, mushrooms and peas. Add the chopped mint and mix well. Toss a little and then serve.


Spaghetti al pesto alla Pantesca

Ingredients (serves 4)
400g spaghetti
50g capers in salt from Pantelleria (or others)
4 stoned green olives
100g tuna fish
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Chop the capers, the olives and the tuna fish as finely as possible and place in a bowl. Add olive oil and salt and pepper and mix well until you have a rough paste. Put the spaghetti in boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Drain and mix with the pesto. Serve and finish with a dribble of excellent olive oil.

Pasta con gamberi e pesto di pistacchi

Ingredients (serves 4)
40g shelled pistacchios
70g fresh basil
8 cherry tomatoes chopped in half
2 cloves of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
400g spaghetti or tagliatelle
200g shelled prawns
1 small glass of white wine
Salt and pepper

First make the pesto: add the pistacchios, basil, 1 clove of garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper and a good slug of olive oil to a blender and mix until you have a densish liquid. Small chunks of pistachio are good. Taste and add more ingredients if necessary.

Heat some water for the pasta and when boiling, salt and add the pasta. Then put a drop of olive oil and a clove of garlic in a large frying pan. When hot, take out the garlic and add the prawns. Gently fry, adding a little salt and splash of white wine which should evaporate. Briefly add the halve cherry tomatoes but make sure you don’t cook the prawns for more than 2/3 minutes.

When the pasta is al dente, drain but keep a cup of pasta water aside. Add the pasta to the prawns and mix well. Then place in a large serving bowl, and add the pesto. Mix well again and, if too dry, add a couple of spoonfulls of the pasta water. Serve and enjoy with a glass of good dry white.

Spaghetti con i piselli e basilico

(Spaghetti with peas and fresh basil)

V / VE

Ingredients (serves 4)
600g spaghetti, broken into 5cm-long pieces
400g fresh or frozen peas
2 cloves of garlic
1 small onion
1 glass of dry white wine
1 small chilli pepper
1 handful of fresh basil
2 tsps white wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Finely chop the onion, the garlic and the chili pepper. Soften the onions in some olive oil and add the garlic and chili. Add the wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Then add the peas and mix well.

In the meantime, heat some water for the pasta. When boiling, add salt and break the spaghetti into it. Add some of the pasta water to the peas, just enough to cover them. Season with salt and pepper and leave them to cook slowly, making sure there is always a couple of cm of liquid.

Chop the basil finely and place in a glass. Add the vinegar and the sugar and mix well and then stir into the peas.

When the spaghetti is cooked, add to the peas and mix well, making sure there is still plenty of liquid. Serve with a little grated Parmesan cheese.

It’s also very tasty served cold on a hot summer’s day.

Tagliatelle ai funghi dei Nebrodi

V / VE

Ingredients (serves 4)
250g mushrooms (preferably Porcini)
450g tagliatelle
1 clove of garlic
A handful of parsley
1 glass of dry white wine
1 small chilli pepper (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Clean the mushrooms well, discarding the earthy feet and chop or slice into smallish chunks. Chop the garlic and gently fry in some extra virgin olive oil making sure that it doesn’t burn. Add the mushrooms, gently season with salt and pepper, stir and cover for a couple of minutes so they begin to cook in their own juices. Then, add the glass of wine, burn off the alcohol, reducing the liquid so that it just covers the pan’s bottom. Add the chopped parsley, mix well and you’re ready to serve! A good bottle of Nero d’Avola will accompany the mushrooms nicely!

Pasta con i tenerumi

V / VE

Ingredients (serves 4)
150gr “long” courgette leaves (or spinach if not available)
150gr cubed courgette
4 cloves of garlic
1 tin of tomatoes
Chili pepper
Salt + pepper
200gr broken spaghetti
A splash of white wine

Put some olive oil in a pan and had the whole cloves of garlic. When the oil is flavoured a little, add the chopped greens (wash them carefully first) and a chopped chilli pepper. Cover and leave for a few minutes. Then add enough water to cover along with a splash of white win. Bring to a boil, burn of the alcohol and cover to simmer for around 30 minutes. After this time, add the tomatoes, ensure that there is still enough liquid and leave to cook for another five minutes. Then break the spaghetti into lengths of about 7-8cm and add to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste and cook until the pasta is ready. Serve either straight away or leave to cool, chill in the fridge and eat cold… very refreshing in the hot summer months!

Pasta con le sarde

(Pasta with fresh sardines)

Ingredients (serves 4)

400g buccatini (or thick spaghetti if buccatini are not available)
400g fresh sardines, cleaned and filleted by your fishmonger
2 handfuls of fresh fennel fronds
1 medium-sized onion
2 or 3 salted anchovies
30g raisins
30g pine kernels
1 teaspoon of tomato concentrate
1 sachet of saffron
100g bread crumbs
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

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 When the onion is soft and translucent, add the chopped garlic, the anchovies, the fennel fronds, the tomato concentrate, the raisins and the pine kernels and salt and pepper to taste. Add a ladle of the water used to cook the wild fennel and mix well. Leave to cook, gently simmering, for about 10 minutes. Then add the sardine fillets and the saffron and cook for 5 minutes more, adding a little more water if necessary.

In the meantime, cook your buccatini in the fennel water, and toast the breadcrumbs in the frying pan used to toast the pine kernels. When the pasta is ready, drain, add to the sauce and mix well. Serve with a sprinkling of toastedbreadcrumbs on top.

Pasta c’anciova

(Pasta with anchovies and tomatoes)

Ingredients (serves 4)

600g spaghetti
150gr breadcrumbs
A good squirt of tomato concentrate
A bottle of tomato passata
40gr of raisins
150gr anchovy fillets
2-3 cloves of garlic
A handful of parsley
A handful of pine kernels
Chilli pepper
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Gently fry the chopped garlic and the anchovy fillets in a little extra virgin olive oil. Add the pine kernels, the raisins, the chilli pepper and the tomato concentrate. Then pour in the tomato passata and a little water, season to taste, mix well and leave to simmer gently until the sauce thickens and intensifies in flavour (about 15 minutes).

Cook the spaghetti, drain, and add to the sauce. Serve with a scattering of toasted breadcrumbs mixed with chopped parsley.

Pasta con nero di seppia

(Pasta with cuttlefish ink sauce)

Ingredients (serves 4)
500gr spaghetti
2 cleaned cuttlefish with their ink sacks
1 small shallot
2 tablespoons of tomato concentrate
olive oil
a little fresh chili pepper
1 glass of white wine
salt and pepper

Couscous di pesce

Ingredients (serves 6)
1 kg of cous cous (you should be able to find packeted couscous with instructions)
2 kg. of fish suitable for making a stock (fish with no small bones, such as rock fish, grouper or dentex)
1 onion
1 tomato
1 clove of garlic
1 tuft of parsley
1 hot chili pepper or ½ teaspoon of harissa (a spicy Tunisian chili paste)
bay leaf

Cook the fish in about four litres of water, adding the chopped onion, the garlic, the parsley, a piece of chili pepper (or ½ teaspoon of harissa), the tomato and the salt. At the end of cooking (up to 2 hours simmering on a fairly low flame), pass the soup through a sieve and mix part of the liquid to the cooked couscous along with two or three bay leaves. Serve the couscous in bowls, adding the rest of the soup/fish to each portion.

Spaghetti con le vongole

(Spaghetti with clams)

Ingredients (serves 4)
300g of clams
3 cloves of garlic
olive oil
large glass of white wine
salt and pepper
600g spaghetti

Wash the clams carefully in running water. Heat some olive all in a large thick-bottomed frying pan (with lid) and add the chopped garlic for a moment. Then add the clams and cover until they open up. Throw in the wine and let the alcohol evaporate for a few minutes. Make sure not to cook off too much liquid, however (clam sauce without the juice is Not good). Add the finely chopped parsley, salt and pepper to your taste and add the sauce to your al dente spaghetti. Serve with a chilled bottle of white wine.

Pasta cu vrocculi arriminati

VO / VEO (omit the anchovy fillets)

Ingredients (serves 4 people)
600g pasta (traditionally bucatini)
1 large cauliflower (about 1kg)
100g raisins
100g pine kernels
1 onion
6 anchovy fillets
1 small packet of saffron
olive oil
salt and pepper


Main courses

Salsiccia al vino

Ingredients (serves 6)
1kg homemade or good quality pork sausage
60g grapes
20g pine nuts
1 white onion, chopped
4 glasses Etna red wine DOC
1 tbsp honey
1 red pepper, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

In a large saucepan or frying pan, brown the onion in a tablespoon of oil for 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and let it bubble up until the alcohol evaporates. Add the sliced red pepper. Rinse the grapes. If you have the patience to, split each grape in half and remove the seeds. Put the grapes, salt, pine nuts and honey in the pan, as well as all the wine. Cook for 10 minutes. In a separate pan, brown the sausage over high heat to get rid of the fat. When the sausage is golden brown, transfer to the pan with the grape sauce and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Carne alla Pizzaiola

(Tender slices of roasted meat topped with tomato sauce, onions and cheese)

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 slices of beef
1 onion sliced finely
100g diced cacciocavallo, mozzarella, and/or Parmesan cheese
1 bottle of tomato passata, though home-made tomato sauce is better!
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Coat the slices of beef with a little olive oil and place in a lightly oiled baking tray. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the finely chopped onion and cover with the tomato passata. Then on top of this add the pieces of diced cheese. Put in a pre-heated oven for about 20-30 minutes until the cheese had begun to melt and the meat is thoroughly cooked.

Serve with crusty white bread and a bottle of full-bodied red wine.

Pollo al Marsala

(Chicken in a Marsala wine sauce)

Ingredients (serves 4)
500gr cubed chicken breasts
1 smallish onion 3 cloves of garlic
2 good-sized glasses of dry Marsala wine
1/2 bottle of tomato sauce
a handful of fresh parsley olive oil
salt and pepper

Gently sweat the finely chopped onion and garlic in some olive oil and, when soft, add the chicken, sealing it on all sides. Turn up the heat a little and add the Marsala, making sure you boil off the alcohol. After a couple of minutes turn down the heat and cover. Let it gently simmer for 10-15 minutes and then stir in the tomato sauce. Season and leave for another 5-10 minutes. Add the chopped parsley at the end and serve with new potatoes.


(Sicilian meat roll)

Ingredients (serves 4) 1 thinly cut but large piece of veal or beef
2 eggs
4 slices of bacon
4 thin slices of tasty cheese
1 small onion
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
a large glass of red wine
olive oil
salt and pepper

Layout the meat and tenderise to make thin. Prepare a thin omelete and lay on top of the meat. Add the slices of bacon and cheese and a little finely chopped onion. Role up, tie with string and place in a large pan with a little hot olive oil. Brown gently and add the finely chopped carrot and celery, a glass of red wine and a little vegetable stock. Salt and pepper to taste, put a lid on and simmer at a low flame for around 45 minutes. Take out the meat carefully and reduce the remaining sauce to make a thick vegetable gravy. Take the farsumagru to the table whole and slice in front of your guests. Serve with a little sauce and a full-bodied red wine.

Polpette al Sugo

(Meatballs in tomato sauce)

Ingredients (serves 4)
300gr top quality mincemeat
100gr strong grated cheese
400gr tomatoes
50gr breadcrumbs
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
60gr ham
2 eggs
salt and pepper

Mix the mincemeat with the cheese, the breadcrumbs. Finely chop the parsley, the onion, the garlic and the ham and add to the meat. Season with salt and pepper and then add the two well-beaten eggs. Mix all together with your hands and divide the mixture into balls. Pass each in a little flour and fry in hot olive oil.
Meanwhile, in another pan gently fry some finely chopped onion and garlic. Chop the tomatoes and add along with some salt, pepper and oregano. Cover and leave to cook vigorously until the tomatoes go down and create a sauce. Then add the meatballs, cover and cook for a further 10-15 minutes on low heat. Serve with a fruity red wine and some crusty white bread.

Scaloppine al Marsala

(Veal escalopes in Marsala wine)

Ingredients (serves 4) 500gr thin slices of veal or top quality beef
50gr of butter
Dry Marsala wine
Salt and pepper

Tenderise the slices of veal and brush with the flour. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook slowly, adding a little salt and pepper. When cooked, remove the meat and leave in a hot place. Add a glass of Marsala to the frying pan and stir until the sauce is a liquid cream. Pour the sauce on the veal and serve with new potatoes and vegetables of the season.

Involtini alla Palermitana

(Palermitan meat rolls)

Ingredients (serves 4)
16 thin slices of veal (about 10cm x 5cm)
1 onion olive oil
50g breadcrumbs
50g grated caciocavallo cheese or other strong cheese
20g very small cubes of caciocavallo or other strong cheese
50g finely chopped ham
salt & pepper
bay leaves
50g raisins and pine kernels

1)Preheat the oven to 200° C
2)Place some olive oil in a frying pan and when hot gently fry the finely chopped onion. When the onions are soft, add the breadcrumbs, the pine kernels, the raisins, the ham, the grated cheese, the small cubes of cheese salt and pepper. Stir well until you have a consistent well amalgamated mix.
3) Spread the slices of veal on a flat surface and add a bit of the filling on each before rolling them up. Place them on 4 skewers (4 involtini per skewer), with bay leaves and slices of onion dividing each one.
4) Put the skewers in an oiled baking tray and place in the oven.
5) Cook at 200 °C for 15-20 minutes and turn twice.
6) Serve with a squirt of lemon juice.


(Baked Mediterranean vegetables)

VO / VEO (omit the anchovy fillets)

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 large aubergines
4 courgettes
2 peppers – 1 yellow, 1 red
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 large potatoes
4 anchovy fillets
A handful of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Cube all the vegetables, roughly chop the onion and keep the garlic whole in their jackets. Add all to an large oven dish along with the anchovy fillets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a good splash of olive oil and mix until all the vegetables are coated with olive oil. Place in a medium oven and cook for between 45 minutes and an hour, checking after about half an hour to check progress. Adjust the heat and cover with tin foil if necessary, as this is essentially a slow cooked dish. When all the vegetables are cooked, sprinkle with parsley, mix well and serve as a side dish or as a vegetarian main.

Vrocculi affucati

(Florets of purple or green cauliflower “drowned” in wine, cheese, anchovies and onion)

VO (omit the anchovy fillets)

Ingredients (serves 4)
800g cauliflower cut into small florets
100g Pecorino or other flavoursome cheese in small cubes
80g anchovies, chopped
2 glasses of red wine
1 spring onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

This is a layered dish: start with a good glug of olive oil on the bottom of a heavy, high pan. Sprinkle some onion, a little of the anchovies and a layer of broccoli. Season, add some chunks of cheese, some more anchovy and onion and repeat two or three times until all the broccoli has been used. Take a plate and push down on the layers, squashing and compacting them. Then add the red wine, another dash of olive oil and a topping of cheese if left over. Cover and cook on a very low heat until the broccoli is cooked. Serve as a side dish or as a vegetarian main.

Parmigiana di melanzana

(Fried aubergines in tomato sauce)

V / VEO (omit the cheese)

Ingredients (serves 6)
1/2 litre of tomato sauce – home-made is better
4 large aubergines (eggplants)
extra virgin olive oil
150 g grated Parmesan cheese
several leaves of fresh basil

Cut the aubergines into 1cm-thick slices and rub a small amount of salt into each slice.
Fry the slices in olive oil until brown and tender.
Place the aubergines in layers in a serving dish adding the tomato sauce, the grated parmesan cheese and basil leaves on top of each layer.

Serve as a cool antipasto with crusty white bread in the summer or bake (with mozzarella slices on top) in the oven for a hearty winter main course.

Milinciani ammuttunate

(Stuffed mini aubergines in a spicy tomato sauce)

Ingredients (serves 4)
8 tennis-ball-sized aubergines
100g Parmesan cheese chopped into matchsticks
100g Parma ham chopped into small pieces
A bunch of fresh mint
4 anchovy fillets halved
1 clove of garlic
1 small glass of white wine
1/2 an onion chopped
1 bottle of tomato passata
1/2 chilli chopped finely
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

First, get your tomato sauce on the go: chop the onion finely and gently sautee in some olive oil with the garlic (whole) and the chilli pepper. When soft and translucent, add the white wine, burn off the alcohol and reduce a little. Then add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and leave on a low flame with the lid on.

Now start preparing the aubergines. after washing, top and bottom them and then make a deep incision in the centre. Stuff each incision with a couple of bits of ham, half an anchovy fillet, a piece or two of Parmesan and a little mint. When ready, place the aubergines carefully at the centre of the tomato sauce, season the top of each one and replace the lid. Leave to cook for around 30 minutes, stirring the tomato sauce occasionally. Check with a toothpick that the aubergines are soft inside and get ready to serve!

Peperoni in agrodolce in crosta

(Sweet and sour peppers on a crusty pastry base)

V / VEO (use vegan pastry)

Ingredients (serves 4)
3 largish peppers (1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green)
1 chilli pepper
1 tablespoon of pine kernels
Fresh mint
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of apple or white wine vinegar
A short-crust pastry base

Make and bake your pastry base and leave to cool. In the meantime, chop and deseed your peppers and place in a frying pan with a dribble of oil, a pinch of salt and a finely chopped chilli pepper. Cook very slowly on a low flame until really soft (make sure the peppers do not fry). Add a spoonful of honey and a spoonful of vinegar and mix carefully. Taste to check the balance of sweet and sour and change modify depending on your tastes. Add the pine kernels and the chopped mint and, when cool, place on the pastry base. Leave to cool and serve with a dribble of extra virgin olive oil and white crusty bread.

Involtini di Melanzane

(Aubergine stuffed rolls)

Ingredients (serves 4)
3 large aubergines
100gr ham 50gr breadcrumbs
50gr grated mature cheese 2 /3 cloves of garlic
a handful of fresh basil
2 tins of tomatoes
half a small onion
olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut the aubergines lengthwise into 1cm-thick slices and brush with salt to extract any liquid. Leave for about 30/40 minutes and then rinse and dry. Then, heat some extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan with a little salt and fry the aubergine slices on both sides until golden brown. Place on kitchen paper to remove excess oil and leave to cool.

While the aubergine slices are cooling, it is time to prepare the filling. Finely chop the ham and garlic, add the breadcrumbs and grate the cheese into the mix. Add most of your basil and a drop of olive oil to make the mixture ever so slightly moist. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Then place a little of the filling on each slice of aubergine and roll up, fastening each involtino with a toothpick.

To prepare the tomato sauce, finely chop your onion and fry it gently in a little olive oil. Add your tinned tomatoes, and cook down with a little salt and pepper. Add a little basil towards the end.

When the sauce is ready (about 20 minutes should do), place the aubergine rolls in a greased oven-proof dish and cover with most of the tomato sauce. Place in a hot oven for around 15-20 minutes.

Add a little more of the tomato sauce and serve with crusty white bread and a chilled bottle of white wine. Alternatively, in the summer, you can let the whole thing cool down and serve at room temperature or slightly cold a little later.

Tonno in agrodolce con mentuccia

(Tuna with sweet and sour onions and mint)

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 tuna steaks (about 150gr each)
1 large red onion chopped into fine strands
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
100ml water
Sea salt
Black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
A small bunch of fresh mint, chopped finely

Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper and quickly sear them in a large frying pan with a little extra virgin olive oil. When seared on all sides and pink in the middle, take out and leave to rest in a warm place. Add a little more olive oil to the pan if necessary and gently cook the onion until translucent. In the meantime, mix the red wine vinegar with the sugar and half of the water, making sure that the sugar has dissolved. Then add the mixture to the onions and leave to cook gently for a few minutes until the onions start to caramelize. Add the rest of the water and the chopped mint and cover until the peas are just about cooked. Then return the tuna steaks to the pan, warm through for a couple of minutes and serve.

Calamari fritti

(Fried squid rings)

Ingredients (serves 4)
600g fresh squid, cleaned and chopped by your fishmonger
8 tbsp durum wheat flour
1 tsp salt
Vegetable oil for frying
2 lemons

There’s no need to make a batter in this light Sicilian version of calamari fritti! Simply sieve the flour, add some salt and mix. Then toss the squid rings and tentacles in the flour. Heat up the oil in a deep saucepan (fill about a third of the pan) and when really hot, add your squid a little at a time, shaking off any excess flour first. When golden brown, take out the squid with a spoon with holes in (draining any excess oil) and place on some kitchen towel. Sprinkle immediately with sea salt and serve while hot with a good squeeze of lemon.

Pesce Spada alla Messinese

(Swordfish Messina style)

Ingredients (serves 4)
600gr swordfish cut into palm-sized slices
2 clove of garlic, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
20 capers (if salted, rinse well first)
10 black olives, chopped
4 anchovy fillets
1 glass of white wine
½ bottle of tomato passata
1 can of chopped tomato
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
A pinch of crushed dried chilli pepper
Parsley, chopped

Gently seal the swordfish slices in some olive oil and then remove and set aside. Add the spring onions, garlic, capers, olives, chilli pepper and anchovy fillets and gently fry until the anchovies melt into the oil and the onion is translucent. Put the slices of swordfish back and then add the white wine. Burn off the alcohol and then add the tomatoes. Mix well, cover and leave to cook for 30 minutes on a very low flame. When ready to serve, sprinkle with parsley. It is excellent with a piece of crusty white bread and a glass of a characterful white wine.

Sarde a Beccafico

(Sardines in Sicilian style)

Ingredients (serves 4)
8-12 sardines depending on their size
100g toasted breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 orange
1 lemon
4 salted anchovies
10g sugar
50g capers (preferably from Pantelleria)
50g black olives
40g sultanas
40g pine kernels
20 toasted almonds
5g parsley

Scale, gut, and chop the heads of the sardines. Wash them well and open like a book.

For the filling
Toast the breadcrumbs, adding the peel and juice of the lemon and the orange. Melt the anchovies in a little olive oil, finely chop the olives, capers, pine kernels and the sultanas, toast and chop the almonds and blend all together in a mixer.  Then add the parsley. When the mixture is homogeneous, spread it on to the sardines using your finger. Roll up the sardine so that the tail remains on the top.

Place the rolled sardines next to each other in a baking tray with bay leaves between them. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs (not toasted) on top and put in the oven for around 10 minutes, depending on the size of the sardines.

Polpette di Sarde

(Sardine balls in fresh tomato sauce)

Ingredients (serves 4)
600g fresh sardines
2 eggs
A handful of pine kernels
A handful of sultanas
A little grated strong cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1-litre freshly-made tomato sauce

Wash and descale the sardines and then chop as small as possible. Add the breadcrumbs, sultanas, pine kernels, a drop of olive oil and parsley and then season. Mix together thoroughly and add the two beaten eggs. Mix again until all the egg has been absorbed and then divide the mixture into snooker-ball sized polpette of good firm consistency.
Add the sardine balls to a hot tomato sauce and cook on a low flame for about 30 minutes

Involtini di Pesce Spada

(Swordfish rolls)

Ingredients (serves 4)
12 slices of swordfish (600-700g)
Extra virgin olive oil
100g grated mature cheese (pecorino if possible)
20g pine kernels
20g raisins
Lemon juice
1/2 a small chilli pepper chopped
Salt and pepper
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 small onion
12 bay leaves
4 skewer sticks

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 the chilli pepper and mix well until it is fairly solid (though not too dry).

The swordfish: 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 and a bay leaf.



Parfait alle mandorle

5 eggs
150 gr sugar
½ litre crème fraîche
100 gr almonds
2 tbsp of the Italian liquor “Amaretto di Saronno” (or a similar one with almond flavour)

Toast and caramelize the almonds (20 min in the oven at 200 degrees, then 5 min in a frying pan with a spoon of sugar), then crush them into small bits.

Beat the egg whites and mix the yolk with the sugar.

Add the whipped crème fraîche and then slowly the whipped egg whites. Stir gently and add the liquor.

Pour half of the mixture into a wet silicon dish, cover with the caramelised almonds and finally pour over the remaining half of the mixture.

Leave in the freezer for at least 3 hrs

Serve with a warm coulis of mandarin sauce ( a quick version of which can be obtained diluting a good mandarin marmalade with a bit of liquor).

Sorbetto di fragole

(Strawberry sorbet)

Ingredients (serves 8)
1kg of strawberries
400gr of sugar
The juice of 1.5 lemons

Blend the strawberries, add the sugar and lemon juice and mix well. Taste and adjust the flavour if necessary and pour into an ice-cream maker. If you don’t have one, place in freezer and stir every 10-15 minutes.

Sicilian Cassata

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

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

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 overhanging.

Step 3: colour the almond paste green
Roll out into a 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 250gr 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.

…. and we have extra 1.000.000,00 other Sicilian recipes and no space suffice to write all of them into a blog-page … so … take advantage of the above information and decide to: plan your tour of Sicily!

In the maintime: Buon Appetito!