pasta al pesto trapanese – pasta with trapani-style pesto

Toasted almonds, like drugs, can be dangerously addictive, even more addictive than capers from Stromboli. Here, they sell them slightly salted, dosed out into little plastic bags; again, rather like capers and drugs. They are however better for you than anything you are likely to buy down a shady alley, and a handful a day apparently brings great health benefits. Of course, if your family is anything like mine, managing to get your fair share Continue Reading →

pasta ‘ncaciata – baked pasta for ferragosto

L’apparenza inganna, as they say here in Italy – appearances can be deceptive. Today’s offering is a case in point. I mean, just look at it – rigatoni and cheese with a crispy crust. This is the sort of pasta dish you wouldn’t mind introducing to your parents. Reassuring, well-behaved, understated even. It’s not exactly a featherweight prawn salad, but neither does it look likely to beat you up and put you out of action Continue Reading →

pasta con le zucchine – pasta with courgettes

  After the Baroque excess of fish soup, something of almost Buddhist simplicity this time. If you have any leftovers, you’ll be able to give them to your pet rabbit without any qualms. Actually, it would probably go quite well with carrots. One of the advantages is that it requires no soffritto and that you only use one saucepan, with the pasta and its sidekick cooking together in the same water. So it’s quick, easy, Continue Reading →

pasta al ragù di tonno – pasta with tuna ragù

Yes, tuna again, and brace yourselves, because there’s more lined up. This is tuna season, so what do you expect? And as you’ve probably realised by now, I just can’t get enough of the stuff… Today’s recipe is from Trapani, where they sometimes also add peas, which strikes me as a rare Sicilian ingredient slip-up. I personally love peas, but they are at their best when in similarly green company: simply dressed with butter and Continue Reading →

spaghetti al nero di seppia – spaghetti with cuttlefish ink sauce

There are foods that we inevitably associate with certain people. If anyone mentions pasta with ragù, for example, I always think of my son, George, who must be one of the world’s leading experts on the dish by now, considering his vast hands-on experience in the field. And lemon meringue pie always brings to mind my sister. I’m not even sure why, although it might just be because her lemon meringue pie is so damn Continue Reading →

ragù bianco di suino nero e porcini, e tutto il resto… – “white” ragù of pork and porcini, and the rest…

 So, a white-themed Christmas it was, although to be honest this was due to chance rather than design, in the sense that the dishes I chose for Christmas happened to be white, rather than being the result of a conscious decision to find colour-challenged recipes. That would have been much too much like hard work. And in any case, the all-white theme came a cropper, since the original starter of baccalà cream tarts got scuppered Continue Reading →

pasta bianco natale – white christmas pasta

I’m not going to pretend this is Sicilian in the sense that it’s part of the Sicilian tradition. Mascarpone and butter are hardly used at all this far south. Mascarpone for tiramisù, butter for arancini al burro. And that’s about it. No, this is Sicilian in the sense that I learnt it here in Sicily and that it was invented by two Sicilians (I can only lay claim to the name). That’s good enough for Continue Reading →