When we speak of Italian cuisine, most people paint a simple picture in their minds, thinking that it’s made mostly of pasta and pizza, as they are the most common dishes with a wider global appeal. This cannot be further from the truth. Italy has a rich history in regional cuisine, and today, we will focus on one region specifically, Sicily.
Regionally speaking, Sicily is unique to Italy due to its rich heritage as one of the oldest cultures in the region. Because of its close proximity to the sea, its cuisine has been influenced by that of the Greek, Spanish, French and even Arab cultures. Today, we will examine some of our favourite typical (and non-typical) Sicilian dishes.
A dish of Arancini with tomato sauce
Most of us know and love this traditional Italian dish, but outside of Italy, not many people know or realise that this is actually a Sicilian dish. These balls of risotto are cooked for a long time, breaded and fried until golden brown.
Cassatelle alla Trapanese
Deliciously sweet and creamy
These little pockets are filled with ricotta, sweetened sheep’s milk and chocolate chips. Coming from the meaning “Trapini style crescents” these desserts has all the perfect elements, cheese and chocolate.
Zuppa di Maccu
Rare delicacy of Sicily
This Sicilian soup is made with dried and crushed fava beans, olive oil and fennel, and is hard to find, even in Sicily. If you have a chance to venture into one of the Sicilian towns, do try to have a taste. The dish is commonly served on St. Joseph’s Day, or known in Italian as Giorno di San Giuseppe.
Pani ca Meusa
A hearty and interesting meal
This Italian dish is typically a local street food, consisting of bread and forcemeats. Historically a dish from Palermo, the meat is made using sesame, stuffed and chopped veal spleen. This dish has a strong flavour and is an acquired taste, which has slowly been gaining traction amongst fine dining eateries.
Pasta con le Sarde
A must try traditional dish
A common dish found throughout Sicily is this ancient pasta and sardine infusion. This simple dish consists of sardines, pine nuts, currants, wild fennel seeds and wild fennel bulbs. Definitely a dish worth trying, due to its combination of earthy flavours punctuated by a sharper sardine taste.
Involtini di Pesce Spada
Famous Sicilian dish
One of the most famous fish eaten in Sicily is the swordfish, and if you are in the region, you have to try these swordfish rolls. This dish consists of bread crumbed swordfish with pine nuts and currants, lightly sautéed or grilled.
Sicily is famous for so many other types of dishes, from its Sicilian pizza, the original birthplace of the deep dish pizza, later made famous as American Italian pizza, to its eclectic range of ways to use pasta. You would have to venture yourself to truly taste what this region has to offer. The mix of flavours of the sea coupled with the scenery of the picturesque countryside will not only take your breath away, but also fuel your appetite.