Archive for category Sicily
Stages of the meal: Meatballs cooked in lemon leaves from the backyard and grilled, pasta alla norma (an Eastern Sicily speciality – topped with an aged ricotta cheese indigenous to Mt. Etna) and a salad of vegetables from the garden.. tomatoes, capers, sicilian cucumber, onion.
While driving around the base of Mt Etna, we discovered all the agriculture and vegetation that exists here on the largest active volcano in Europe. Chestnuts, hazelnuts, grapes, tomatoes, herbs.. all grown right on the vines and in the soil of Mt. Etna..
a pasta unique to Trapani, Sicily.. Busiate – a coiled strip pasta often made with a Trapanese pesto (almonds, garlic, basil, mint).. incredibly tasty
Ai Lumi Tavernetta -a B&B in the heart of Trapani with excellent local fare. Fresh fish, excellent pastas with seafood, couscous, and other typical trapanese cuisine.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 75, 91100 Trapani Province of Trapani, Italy
Love all the fresh fish at this Sicilian fish market in Marsala. Definitely a sight to take in when visiting this beautiful town.
I’ve always been a fan of the trattorias in Italy. I enjoy fine dining but something about the vibe and atmosphere of an Italian trattoria makes it my go to choice for dining in Italy. What better way to experience a region’s local cuisine? On my most recent trip to Sicily, I discovered Trattoria San Pietro, in the region of Trapani. San Pietro is slightly removed from the main drag of town, a couple turns and a few piazzas further. It’s small, intimate, and comfortable. We made a reservation and our table was ready right next to the kitchen. There were two to three people in the kitchen at a given time. No menu, just a few dishes spelled out on a chalkboard. Orders came in and the chef cranked out each individual dish. As I peeked through the beaded doorway into the kitchen, I watched it all come together.
I ordered the house antipasti which consisted of the Sicilian specialty, caponata, as well as olives, octopus seafood salad, zucchini and onions, sauteed eggplant, couscous with vegetables (couscous is one of the primary dishes in Western Sicily, most commonly served with fish/seafood), and swordfish ceviche (DIVINE!). Note the ceramic platter it’s served in, very typical Sicilian colors and design. Before our pastas arrived, we noticed what looked like fried sardines arrive at another table. Our eyes lit up at the sight of this dish, something we had not experienced at other restaurants, and to our surprise, the chef noticed our enthusiasm and five minutes later, he served us a sample. That’s the Sicilian way, especially in a trattoria. These fish were not sardines. The name is escaping me but the entire fish was edible, no bones, and beyond tasty! Finally, the pasta. The spaghetti vongole had to be the best I have ever eaten. Ingredients were simpel. Spaghetti, clams, olive oil, garlic, and parsley. The next pasta was a busiate, (a corkscrew pasta native to Trapani) with shrimp. Such simple ingredients that when combined together end up creating mouth watering flavor.
I just returned from a couple weeks in Rome and Sicily, two places close to my heart (and stomach). When in Rome, the quintessential snack and accompaniment to any pizza is the beloved suppli – a ball of rice (risotto) stuffed with marinara and mozzarella, coated in breadcrumbs, and then fried. Simple, yet genius. No words can describe the deliciousness of that first bite – the perfect ratio of sauce to melted cheese. Be sure to snag one, heated of course, at any pizzeria in Rome or the Lazio region.
Then I arrived in Sicily, and came across arancini. Sort of like a suppli in that it’s a fried ball of rice, but that’s where the similarities end. Arancini originated in Sicily so it’s THE place to try it, a Sicilian emblem, if you will. They can be found anywhere. Arancini are much larger than suppli. They can be a meal rather than a side to pizza. The most common arancini is stuffed with ragu and peas. There are plenty of other variations ranging from prosciutto and cheese to carrots and onions, and other meat fillings. The best thing about them is they are there when you need them, and can be found in all regions of Sicily.