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 →

spezzatino aggrassato – sicilian beef stew

Why cook for four if you can cook for eight? This seems to sum up the philosophy of home cooking in southern Italy in a nutshell. It’s all very stereotypical, I know, this image of the mamma slaving over a hot stove to produce gargantuan quantities of food for a ravenous family and any last-minute unexpected guests. A stereotype, maybe, but every time that unexpected guest was me, I’ve found it to be true. So, Continue Reading →

spaghetti con mosciame – spaghetti with dry-cured tuna

No, before you ask, I am not a paid-up employee of the Tuna Marketing Board. Yes, I know, I posted a tuna recipe only last week, but that’s just a coincidence. Admittedly, with my love for tuna, let’s just say it was a coincidence waiting to happen. However, fishy coincidences aside, I’m sure you’re all wondering just what mosciame is. Quite a few Sicilians from this side of the island don’t know either, so you’re Continue Reading →

spaghetti alle vongole – spaghetti with clams

This is not specifically a Sicilian dish, and other regions of Italy have their own versions (although variation is minimal). Anyway, it’s served in most seafood restaurants here, and is a favourite in my house, and that’s good enough for me. This is one of those dishes that I always feel has something of a restaurant aura about it, but I suspect this is simply a hangover from my English upbringing. Anything served in its Continue Reading →

pasta al sugo di capone – pasta with dolphinfish

Not for the first time, and not for the last either, I’ll warrant, we come up against the problem of names. This time in both English and Italian, just to make things fair. In English, these creatures that look like they’ve swum into a wall nose-first are called dolphinfish or mahi-mahi (which of course is not English, but Hawaiian, for the record). I don’t know why, and as you can see, they’re not likely to Continue Reading →

sugo di maiale – pork and tomato sauce

Go into a Sicilian agriturismo in the mountains in the winter, and there’s a good chance you’ll be given a steaming bowl of maccheroni al sugo di maiale. Washed down with some Sicilian vino locale in front of a blazing log fire, I can imagine no better way to warm myself up, or lift my spirits on a dark winter night, for that matter. This is not food for anyone counting their calories, unless of Continue Reading →