Pasta con la mollica (Pasta with Breadcrumbs)

FrankBasilicata, Calabria, pasta, primi piatti, Puglia, Sicilia27 Comments

Pasta con la mollica (Pasta with Breadcrumbs)

All over southern Italy, breadcrumbs were considered the “poor man’s cheese”. Those who couldn’t afford the luxury of the usual grated pecorino—or throwing away stale bread—would sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs over pasta and other dishes. Cucina povera in the literal sense. And yet, as it so often turns out, necessity gave … Read More

Insalata di polpo (Octopus Salad)

Frankantipasti, Campania, Liguria, Sicilia, Veneto24 Comments

Insalata di polpo (Octopus Salad)

Octopus seems to be enjoying something of a boomlet in popularity at the moment. Until very recently I could mostly find fresh octopus only at specialty Spanish or Italian fishmongers, but these days it seems to be everywhere, even making an occasional appearance at the fish counter in my local … Read More

Spaghetti al nero di seppia (Spaghetti with Squid Ink)

Frankpasta, primi piatti, Sicilia, Veneto26 Comments

Spaghetti al nero di seppia (Spaghetti with Squid Ink)

Have you ever tried squid ink? I’d venture that many of our readers, Italian food lovers that you are, haven’t, but it’s really getting to know. Squid ink has a unique “earthy” flavor, silky mouth feel and alluring jet black color that couples perfectly with pasta. I find it irresistible. … Read More

Involtini di pesce spada (Swordfish Rolls)

Franksecondi piatti, Sicilia29 Comments

Involtini di pesce spada (Swordfish Rolls)

When you think of Sicily, what do you think of? When it comes to food, I’m sure swordfish is near the top of most everyone’s list. There’s no fish is more closely associated with the island, fished there widely since ancient times in places like the Strait of Messina. The … Read More

Panelle (Sicilian Chickpea Fritters)

Frankantipasti, Sicilia, snack43 Comments

Panelle (Sicilian Chickpea Fritters)

These Sicilian chickpea fritters, known as panelle in Italian, are often associated with Sicily’s capital city Palermo, where you can buy them sandwiched inside a sesame seed bun at street-side snack bars. But if you can’t get to Palermo any time soon, no worries. Panelle are pretty easy to make at … Read More

Couscous di pesce (Fish Couscous)

Franksecondi piatti, Sicilia39 Comments

Couscous di pesce (Fish Couscous)

On my recent trip to western Sicily for a family wedding, I tasted many delicious dishes, but none was more distinctive than the couscous di pesce, also known as couscous alla trapanese after the city and province of Trapani in western Sicily where it’s from. The fact that Sicilians eat couscous is a legacy of … Read More

Spaghetti con la bottarga

Frankpasta, primi piatti, Sardegna, Sicilia, summer26 Comments

Spaghetti con la bottarga

Bottarga—cured fish roe typical of Sardinian and Sicilian cookery—is an unusual but tasty treat. It has a unique flavor that reminds me of a cross between caviar and anchovy but more delicate than either. Like a good, aged Parmesan or pecorino cheese, bottarga lends itself beautifully to grating over pasta. There … Read More

Gelo di melone (Sicilian Watermelon Pudding)

Frankdessert, Sicilia, summer24 Comments

Watermelon Pudding (Gelo di melone)

Sicilian Watermelon Pudding, or gelo di melone, is made from watermelon juice, perfumed with cinnamon and jasmine blossoms, thickened and mixed with bits of chocolate—cut into little bits so they resemble watermelon seeds—and chilled until set. Served in dessert bowls or unmolded on to a plate, the pudding is then topped with ground … Read More

Eggplant Cordon Bleu (Cordon bleu di melanzane)

Franksecondi piatti, Sicilia, summer26 Comments

Eggplant Cordon Bleu

Eggplants may be my favorite summer vegetable. Perhaps that’s because I have such fond food memories of my grandmother’s parmigiana di melanzane, or Eggplant Parmesan. The parmigiana is a lot of work, though, a dish for special occasions, so I’m always looking for different ways to prepare eggplant. One of the … Read More

Insalata di arance e finocchi (Orange and Fennel Salad)

Frankantipasti, contorno, Fall, Sicilia, Winter43 Comments

Orange and Fennel Salad

It might be the season, but coming right on the heels of our recent post on Sausages and Grapes, today’s post once again features a mixture of sweet and savory ingredients. Whereas that post combined fruit and meat, today we’ll take a look at a fruit and vegetable combination from Sicily: … Read More

Fichi al cioccolato (Chocolate Covered Figs)

FrankCalabria, dessert, Sicilia, snack27 Comments

Chocolate Covered Figs

Here’s a sweet that’s so simple you could almost describe it as a non-recipe: Chocolate Covered Figs—dried figs stuffed with almonds and dipped in dark chocolate. It’s a combination that was truly meant to be, in my opinion far more appealing than the ever-popular strawberries in chocolate. The intense, concentrated … Read More

Biancomangiare (Blancmange)

Frankdessert, Sicilia11 Comments

Biancomangiare (Blancmange)

A dish dating back to the Middle Ages, biancomangiare, meaning ‘white dish’, is a simple cooked dessert, essentially milk infused with spices and thickened with starch to form a kind of pudding not unlike its far better known cousin panna cotta. It is usually topped with cinnamon or ground nuts. It can be served … Read More

Gattò di patate (Neapolitan Potato “Cake”)

franfajrantipasti, Campania, piatti unici, Sicilia, snack58 Comments

Gattò di patate (Neapolitan Potato Cake)

Another example of the French Bourbon legacy in Neapolitan cooking, this gattò—from the French gateau—is a savory potato ‘cake’ made of mashed potatoes enriched with eggs, butter and grated cheese, a mixture you may remember from our recipe for crocchè di patate (Potato Croquettes). The filling for this cake is … Read More

Quick Note: Vongole alla brace (Grilled Clams)

Frankantipasti, Sicilia, summer10 Comments

Grilled clams

I don’t know about you, but even for an inveterate cooking enthusiast like myself, the dog days of summer take their toll. I like to keep time spent over a hot stove to a minimum, so I turn to lots of quick and easy dishes that need little or no … Read More

Pasta al pesce spada (Pasta with Swordfish)

Frankpasta, primi piatti, Sicilia, summer27 Comments

Pasta with Swordfish

Pasta with swordfish is the kind of carefree pasta dish that, for me, typifies summer eating. The recipe is quick –you can make the condimento (sauce) in the time it takes for you to bring the water to a boil and cook the pasta–and precise measurements hardly matter at all. (The … Read More

Pesce spada al salmoriglio (Swordfish with Salmorigio Sauce)

Franksecondi piatti, Sicilia21 Comments

Swordfish with Salmoriglio Sauce

Salmoriglio is a typically Sicilian sauce that adds great flavor to fish, particularly that most typical of Sicilian fishes, swordfish. The fish is grilled or otherwise simply prepared and napped with sauce before serving. Salmoriglio looks like and plays a culinary role similar to the salsa verde that goes so well … Read More

Filetti di pesce al finocchio (Baked Fish with Braised Fennel)

Franksecondi piatti, Sicilia15 Comments

Baked Fish with Braised Fennel

Where would Italian food in the US be without Marcella Hazan? As much as I treasure my Campanian and Puglian food roots, I am forever thankful for the horizons that Marcella’s 1973 Classic Italian Cooking opened up for me. And even almost 40 years later, she continues to inspire. Here … Read More

Pesto alla trapanese (A Sicilian pesto)

Frankpasta, primi piatti, Sicilia, summer24 Comments

Pesto alla trapanese

One of the great joys of summer is the appearance of juicy, ripe tomatoes in the marketplace. Tomatoes that, for once, actually taste like tomatoes! And, of course, think about tomatoes and you’ll immediately think about pasta. There’s something about fresh tomatoes and pasta that was just meant to be. … Read More

Caponata alla siciliana

Frankantipasti, Sicilia, summer33 Comments

Caponata alla sicliana

I have to admit, Sicilian food has always been something of a mystery to me. Many Sicilian dishes remind me of Angelina’s Campanian cooking—and Sicilians actually lay claim to melanzane alla parmigiana, one of her signature dishes—but there is something  ‘different’ about some of the taste combinations you’ll find in Sicilian … Read More

Granita di caffè (Coffee Granita)

Frankdessert, Sicilia, snack, summer20 Comments

Coffee Granita

As the summer draws to a close, it’s time to finish our trilogy of Italian frozen desserts. We have already explored the delights of gelato and sorbetto, and now it’s time to finish our trilogy with a post on granita, a kind of country cousin to the first two. Most commonly … Read More

Pasta alla Norma (Sicilian-Style Pasta with Eggplant)

Frankpasta, primi piatti, Sicilia11 Comments

This, one of my favorite summertime pastas, comes from Sicily. Along with pasta con le sarde, it is perhaps the most famous of Sicilian pasta dishes. And it is a fairly simple dish to make, the only slight complication coming from the initial preparation of the eggplant. To make pasta … Read More

Insalata di arance rosse (Blood Orange Salad)

Frankcontorno, Sicilia2 Comments

I recently found some blood oranges from California at the market–and I love blood oranges–so I made a blood orange salad as ‘dessert’: you just peel and slice the oranges, sprinkle over some black olives (Gaeta or nicoise are best), bits of red onion and parsley. Season with a bit … Read More