pasta con fave, ricotta e guanciale croccante – pasta with broad beans, ricotta and crispy guanciale

The original idea was to do something light, something fitting for Lent. There was ricotta and fresh broad beans in the fridge. Add a hunk of half-stale rustic bread and I was looking at the lunch of a medieval monk. But as I investigated further, I soon came across tangy, richly-flavoured pecorino, and a large piece of guanciale made by my butcher from locally-bred pigs. All dreams of sainthood up in smoke within seconds This Continue Reading →

cuccìa dolce di santa lucia – wheat berry and ricotta pudding for st. lucy’s day

  It was recently St. Lucy’s Day (13 December), so no pasta, bread or flour. If you’re wondering why, have a look at last year’s St. Lucy’s Day-themed post. St. Lucy is one of Italy’s more popular saints (yes, they do seem to have a sort of internal pecking order), and is celebrated all over the country in various ways, with processions, traditional fairs, fireworks and the lighting of votive candles. The kids in Northern Continue Reading →

zuppa inglese di pandoro, con amaretti, crema di mascarpone e ricotta – pandoro trifle with amaretti, mascarpone and ricotta cream

I’m surprised myself, to be honest. Two dishes using mascarpone in the space of a month. First pasta, and now this. 2014’s entire mascarpone consumption squeezed into the last couple of weeks of the year. A glance at the main ingredients, not to mention the title (trifle in Italian is zuppa inglese, ‘English soup’, although I have no idea why), will have alerted you to the fact that this is another recipe from outside Sicily, Continue Reading →


Just for a change, we have a problem with names. My friend Caterina told me the dialect word sciusceddu comes from sciusciare (‘to blow’), in turn from the French souffler (courtesy of the Normans), deriving from the Latin subflare. She’s not alone in thinking this, but Giuseppe Coria, author of the iconic Profumi di Sicilia, the undisputed authority on Sicilian food, tells us that “there are various names for this dish, but the correct one Continue Reading →