100. Italy: Sicily: Egg Plant, Pine nut & Raisin Fusilli

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Every time I hear Sicily The Godfather theme song starts playing in my head! Sorry for the stereotyping… but after the research I did I am apparently not that far off.

Sicily is still largely ruled by the Mafia, and I don’t think it’s as romantic and exciting as it sounds… It just means lots and lots of corruption. The Mafia is an everyday part of life in Sicily, I mean over 80% of businesses in Palermo pay pizzo (protection money). The strangest thing is the government only recently (1992) started fighting back against the mafia, before that no one really cared… Imagine having your country been taken over by organised crime and no one actually giving a damn about it.

Nonetheless, the island of Sicily is supposed to be extraordinary, and I really really really wanna go there especially since Palermo the capital has been awarded the title of best street food capital of the world!!!


Things you didn’t know about Sicily:

  • According to Greek mythology, ships that pass to the Messina strait between Sicily and Calabria are in danger of being attacked by Scylla and Charibdys, the monsters that guard either side of the narrow passage. This myth gave rise to the expression “between Scylla and Charybdis,” a local equivalent to “between a rock and a hard place.
  • The Sonnet! The most famous of all traditional poetic forms, consisting of fourteen lines written in iambic pentameter with an elaborate rhyme pattern, was originally invented by a poet from the Sicilian school, Giacomo da Lentini. From Italy, the sonnet was taken to France and England, where writers such as William Shakespeare made extensive use of the form.
  • The hilltop town of Corleone has become synonymous with the Mafia: the place where bosses Salvatore Riina and Bernardo Provenzano were raised was also chosen by Mario Puzo as the home town of his characters in The Godfather.
  • While the Invasion of Normandy, or D-Day, is celebrated as the great turning point of World War II, it is also true that the invasion of Sicily by the Allies in 1943 was an earlier victory that began turning the tables on the Axis powers. Codenamed Operation Husky, the battle lasted for 38 days and culminated with a decisive victory for the invading Allied forces.
  • Sicily is rich in ancient Greek ruins, and many say that they surpass in beauty those found in modern-day Greece. For a long time, the ancient Greeks controlled a large part of the island, mostly in the eastern region around Syracuse, where the famous mathematician Archimedes was born. Well-preserved Greek ruins still remain in Syracuse, Taormina, and near Agrigento. The latter is the location of the famous “Valley of the temples,” a collection of seven different temples dedicated to different Greek deities.

This is basically my twist on Pasta a la Norma/caponata, Sicilians love eggplants any way they can get them so almost every Sicilian dish contains them. No problem for me since I really like eggplants. This is pasta I have been making for years, one of the first recipes I came up with myself, by simply being broke and working with what I had laying around… Back then I used canned roasted eggplant and canned tomatoes and all the spices were dried and that works fine as well but fresh veggies are just so much better believe me. And on the plus side, it is really quick and easy.


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Farfafelle with caramelized carrots and fennel

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Yesterday I had a sleepover at with my sister in her new apartment. She just came back from Costa Rica so I really wanted to hear about all her adventures. Because she just came back from holiday, there wasn’t a lot of food in the apartment. So I had to improvise, but it turned out really well!

Farfafelle with caramelized carrots and fennel

Ingredients: 1 big carrot, 3/4 bulb of fennel, 1 clove of garlic, 1 shallot, olive oil, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1/4 glass of champagne, 2 1/2 cups of farfalle

Slice the carrots into slices of o,5cm. Quarter the fennel and then slice it same af the carrots. Chop the garlic and the shallot. Fry the onion and the garlic in the olive oil, until they start going translucent. Boil some water.  Add the fennel and the carrots to the pan with the onions and let them cook for about 5 minutes so they softened a little. Put the pasta in the water (Follow the instructions on the pasta package), Stir the carrots fennel mixture occasionly. Add the champagne to carrots and fennel. Let it cook for 5 more minutes until the carrots have blackened a little (that means they have caramelized. Drain the pasta, and add the carrot fennel mixture to the pasta! I personally don’t think it need cheese but you can always add some grated parmesan.