Along with pizza, pasta is probably the dish we consider the most Italian. However, truth be told, Italians were first introduced to this now ubiquitous wheat flour noodle by way of Sicily. (And there’s still a debate raging as to whether the Sicilians adopted it from China, via Marco Polo, or from the Arabs who ruled Italy’s biggest island 1,000 years ago.)
Wherever pasta originated, Sicilians made pasta their own along with a whole host of mouthwatering dishes most of us are less familiar with.
Here are some favourites you can try at home or order at your local ristorante:
- Maccu: A peasant soup primarily made of dried and crushed fava beans and fennel and believed to have originated in Roman times.
- Couscous al pesce: Couscous is usually associated with North African dishes but this dish with snapper, bream or shrimp originates in Trapani, on the west coast of the island.
- Arancini: Stuffed rice balls or cones coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried. They’re often filled with meat sauce, cheese and peas.
- Pignolata: A dessert specialty from Messina, this soft pastry is covered in chocolate and lemon syrup or icing.
- Cannoli: Immortalized in the film “The Godfather”, this irresistible Sicilian dessert consists of tube-shaped pastry shells filled with sweet ricotta filling. They can be as small as a finger (“cannulicchi”) to fist-size shells popular in Palermo.
What dish sounds most delicious to you? Which do you think you’ll try to make at home? Share your ideas and recipes with other members in the Shop Talk Blog community forum!
Did you know? Speak Sicilianu?
Sicily’s location in the Mediterranean Sea has greatly influenced its people and distinct language which, though similar to Italian, has borrowed heavily from Albanian, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Catalan and French. (Source)