Sicilian cuisine is well known all around the world not only because is part of the Italian tradition but also because it well represents the Mediterranean typical ingredients and diet. The traditional Sicilian recipes are based on an extraordinary variety of ingredients, even though some of them recur very often. Olive oil is one of the most used (as well as salt and pepper); raisins, pine nuts and wild fennel are very common. Sicily is a land where sea and mountains coexist in a perfect balance, so you will find dishes based on fish as well as based on meat (and mountain vegetables).
Are you interested in trying Sicilian cuisine? Why don’t you start with this selection of recipes?

Pasta con le sarde. Typical of Palermo, this is pasta (usually “bucatini”) with fresh sardines, wild fennel, pine nuts, raisins and toasted breadcrumbs. To prepare the sauce, first of all boil the wild fennel, then add raisins and pine nuts and, at the end, add the sardines. When you mix pasta and sauce, complete the dish with a bit of breadcrumbs toasted with a pinch of sugar.

Anelletti al forno. Anelletti (“rings”) is a shape of pasta famous in Sicily because of this traditional dish. The condiment is a very rich minced meat sauce, with sautéed celery and carrots, green peas and sometimes even hard eggs and mortadella or other cured meat (depending on the area where you try it). At the end everything is cooked for a while in the oven (“forno”) and that’s the reason of the name.

Pasta con la frittella di fave is not very common in restaurants. Nevertheless it is a traditional entrée from Palermo. Pasta with sautéed onions, peas, fava beans, artichokes and wild fennel.

Pasta alla Norma is a really famous dish prepared with tomato sauce and aubergines. Cut the aubergines in slices or cubes and fry them. Apart prepare the tomato sauce adding salt, pepper and fresh basil. Cook and drain the pasta, dress it with the sauce, the aubergines and some fresh basil, olive oil and salty ricotta.

Traditional street food of Palermo. Panelle are chickpeas flour fried pancakes, crocché are smashed potatoes fried balls and raschiatura is a fried paste done with the remaining mixture of panelle and crocché.

Insalata d’arancia is a fresh salad made with oranges, anchovies, black olives, red onions and fennel.

Broccoli affogati. Broccolis are sautéed with red wine, garlic and onion. At the end add a bit of pecorino cheese and anchovies.

Sarde a beccafico. In Palermo’s version, the fresh sardines are cleaned, opened and filled with a stuffing made of breadcrumbs toasted with sugar, raisins, pine nuts and garlic. At the end just roll the sardines up and put in the oven. In Eastern Sicily the sardines are just rolled in breadcrumbs and fried or roasted.

Caponata is a mix of sautéed vegetables (usually aubergines) cooked with tomato sauce and onions, olives, celery and capers. It’s definitely one of the most important traditional Sicilian recipes.

Arancine are fried rice balls stuffed with a variety of condiments. The most usual combinations are minced meat with tomato sauce or butter and ham.

Now, try them all and make your own top ten! What are your favorites?