Sicilian cuisine has many simple dishes typical of its farming society. Though little known, they are rich in history. These are the dishes of the common people, handed down in families and made of simple ingredients like bread, olive oil and vegetables. The true protagonists in handing down the recipes of these dishes are mothers. Up to this very day, they are especially proud of the foods belonging to their local traditions because they are a historical, cultural and even art heritage to be cherished and disseminated. The role of mothers has been and still is essential in the rural community. The queens of the hearth and custodians of the skills and tastes of the gastronomic tradition and of genuine techniques to work the produce of the land, they are the ones to have handed down, from one generation to another, through their gestures and words, the rich body of knowledge that has allowed many rural and convivia customs to survive.
In Menfi an example of this are the many rural dishes prepared with devotion and passion by mothers, true pioneers of the issues of health consciousness that are so topical now when it comes to eating, like zero-km and organic foods, which have always been a staple here. Cooking means knowing the environment and protecting nature, the starting point for the preparation of dishes in which there are no rules or calculations for the quantity and calories: all you need are three ingredients: love, hands and a pinch of imagination. Cooking means giving a meaning to the everyday life of a family: mom and the kitchen, two key players in a simple society that draws its strength from very little, like flour, water and yeast, enhancing it all with true gestures and rituals. This marks the beginning of a journey through genuine dishes, almost impossible to find, typical of Menfi's cuisine. They are the fruit and expression of the territory and its crops.
Prepared by Mrs. Carmela Caruso
Ingredients: 500 gr. (17.6 oz) fusilli pasta (spiral-shaped pasta) 1 medium size cauliflower, 1 bottle of tomato sauce, 1 onion, salt to taste, basil totaste, cinnamon to taste, cloves to taste, 100 g (3.5 oz) almonds
Wash and cut the cauliflower into pieces. Slice the onion and sauté in a sauce pan with some olive oil. Add the cauliflower, stir and then add the tomato sauce and a little bit of water. Season with salt, basil, a pinch of cinnamon, cloves. Let it cook for about half an hour. In the meantime, cook the pasta. Drain and add to the cauliflower. Sprinkle with toasted and chopped almonds. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes in order to make the pasta more tasty.
Prepared by Mrs. Caterina Reina | First Course
First Course Ingredients:-300 g (10.6 oz) of caserecce type pasta, 250 g (8.8 oz) of peeled tomatoes, 2 round eggplants, 1 onion, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons of salted ricotta cheese, grated, basil, as needed, salt as needed, hot pepper as needed.
Preparation: Wash, clean and cut the eggplants into small cubes. Finely slice the onion and place the peeled tomatoes in a plate and crush them. In a saucepan, stew the onion with a few tablespoons of water, add the eggplants and let to savour for about one minute, then add the tomatoes. Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook for about 20 minute, adding some water if necessary. Before the end of the cooking time season with some salt and hot pepper, if you like, together with fresh basil leaves. Cook the pasta in a separated pot and, when cooked al dente (slightly underdone), strain and pour in a bowl. Add the eggplant sauce and the grated ricotta cheese, mix and serve.
Prepared by Mrs. Carmela Caruso
Ingredients: Artichokes, potatoes (as many as required), garlic to taste, parsley to taste, pepperto taste, olive oil to taste.
Trim and discard the tough outer leaves of artichokes. Open the leaves a little and rinse under water. Tuck slices of garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Set the artichokes in a sauce pan, adding pieces of potatoes so as not to make them tilt and a little water and olive oil. Cover and cook for about half an hour.
Prepared by Mrs. Maria Montalbano
Ingredients: 300 g (10.6 oz.) dried broad beans, 300 g (10.6 oz.) dried beans, 250 g (9 oz.) lentils, 1 onion, 1 carrot, wild fennel to taste, 1 tomato, salt to taste, pepper to taste, olive oil to tastee.
Night before: soak the beans in cold water with a pinch of soda. The day after rinse the beans well and put in a pot with cold water and a pinch of soda. As soon as the water gets to a boil add the diced onion, carrot, wild fennel, tomato, season with salt and pepper. Cook for one hour and a half, and at the end drizzle with olive oil. Serve with toasted bread croutons.
Prepared by Mrs. Giuseppina Ognibene
Ingredients: potatoes, 1 large onion, eggs, olive oil to taste, salt to taste.
Wash the potatoes, peel and cut into thin slices. In a large pan, heat the olive oil, add the potatoes and fry over a moderate heat until they are brown and crunchy. Season with salt. In the same way wash the onion, cut it into slices and brown in 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt. Add the onions to the potatoes. Beat the eggs in a bowl, season with salt. Pour over the potatoes, cover the pan and cook over a low flame moving the pan so that the omelette cook sevenly. When the omelette will not stick to the pan anymore, place a plate or a pan lid onto the pan and turn around. Put the pan again on the flame, add a drizzle of olive oil and make the omelette slide back in the pan in order to cook on the other side.
Prepared by Mrs. Luigia Crapanzano | First Course
Ingredients: 1 kg (2.2 lb) of chickpeas, 1 fresh onion, 1 stick of celery, 1 small broccoli head, salt as needed, pepper as needed, olive oil, as needed
Preparation: Soak the chickpeas in cold water for 12 hours. In a large terracotta pan, bring 4 litres of water to a boil, then pour the drained chickpeas, the celery in a single piece and the onion cut in small round slices. Simmer for at least one hour. Just before the end of this time, add salt and the chopped broccoli. Cook for 10 more minutes, then turn off the heat. Pour a little olive oil to give flavour to the soup. Then dress in the plate with oil and pepper and eat with croutons.
Prepared by Mrs. Caterina Liotta | First Course
Ingredients for 3 kg (6.6 lb) of flour: Hard wheat flour, yeast as needed, salt as needed, oil as needed, oregano as needed, sardines in oil. Preparation of the starter dough: Three or four days in advance, mix 50 g (1.7 oz) of wheat flour with warm water. Leave the dough in a small uncovered ceramic bowl to grow.
Preparation of the yeast: When the starter dough preparation time has elapsed, arrange 500 g (1.1 lb) of hard wheat flour in a circle on a rolling board and knead with some warm water, add the starter dough and keep kneading until dough is smooth. Spread some flour on a tea cloth and wrap up the dough, then leave to grow for at least 8/10 hours.
Preparation of the pasta a mezzo forno: Pour 3 kg (6.6 lb) of hard wheat flour on a large rolling board by forming a sort of circle with a hole at the centre.
Complete preparation: Add 100 g (3.5 oz) of salt, hot water. Knead, add the yeast and keep kneading with hot water until rather soft. At the end of the process, clean the board with the blade of a knife, pour a little olive oil on the board and complete the job by forming several small pieces of dough of about 200 grams (7 oz) each. Cover them with a cloth and let them grow for at least 2 hours. When this time has elapsed, roll out the dough like for a pizza, taking care to leave some holes in the dough with the tips of your fingers. Transfer in the baking pans, dress with peeled tomatoes, oregano, sardines in oil and some olive oil. Bake at 250°C (482°F) for 15/20 minutes.
Prepared by Mrs. Calogera Marrone | Second course
Ingredients: 1 kg (2.2 lb) of potatoes, meat, celery, onion, carrots, white wine, salt, oil
Preparation: Sauté the boiled meet with a little oil and add onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, salt. Pour half a glass of white wine and cook over a low heat adding 2-3 ladles of the broth set apart when boiling the meat.
Prepared by Mrs. Paola Ognibene | Firsto Course
Ingredients: Spaghetti, 1 head escarole, Raw tomato sauce, Onion, 1 potato, Olive oil to taste, Salt to taste, Grated pecorino cheese
Preparation: Put in a pot plenty of salted water with a little bit of raw tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Add the washed and chopped escarole leaves, after having discarded the tough outer leaves. Chop a small onion and add to the pot. When half done, add a diced medium size potato. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. In the meantime crush the spaghetti, transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside. Cook the spaghetti in the vegetable cooking water. When almost done, add the vegetable again and finish cooking. Turn off the heat, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle some pecorino cheese.
Prepared by Mrs. Carmela Caruso | First Course
Ingredients: wild fennel, plenty of onion, tomato sauce, breadcrumbs, almonds, salt as needed, olive oil, as needed
Preparation: Clean and chop the fennel. In a saucepan, brown the chopped onion with the fennel, add the tomato sauce and cook for about one hour. Separately, prepare some toasted bread crumbs and minced toasted almonds. Cook the pasta, then add the fennel sauce and spread the toasted bread and almonds on top.
Prepared by Mrs. Antonia Cusumano | Second course
Ingredients: 1/4 lt (1 cup) of milk, 3 eggs, white flour as needed, a pinch of salt
Preparation: Clean the artichokes by removing the hardest leaves and cut them into slices. Beat the eggs with the milk, slowly add the flour until you obtain a uniform batter, then season with a pinch of salt. Plunge the artichokes in the batter and fry in hot oil.
Prepared by Mrs. Caterina Piazza | Second course
Ingredients: eggs, bacon, broccoli, grated parmesan cheese, parsley, 1 small onion, 1 clove of garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper as needed
Preparation: Clean the broccoli by eliminating dry leaves and hard parts then cut off the florets, wash them in cold water and boil them for ten minutes in salted boiling water. When cooked, drain carefully. Pour two tablespoons of oil in a pan and sauté the chopped bacon together with minced onion and parsley and a clove of garlic. Add the broccoli and let it cook for a few minutes to gain flavour. Remove the garlic clove and wait until cool. Pour the eggs in a bowl and beat them for a few seconds. Add the cheese and broccoli, salt and pepper. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan. Heat and then pour the egg mixture. With a circular movement, incline the pan so that the egg mixture uniformly covers the bottom. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat shaking the pan several times and often changing the position of the pan on the flame, so that the omelette takes on a uniform colour. When the omelette is detached from the pan bottom, that is the right time to overturn it. Place a plate or a lid on top of the pan, keep still with your hand and turn upside down. Place the pan back on the flame, pour some oil or butter and pass the omelette from the plate to the pan to cook the other side. When the cooking is complete, transfer on a dinner plate and serve.
Prepared by Mrs. Giuseppina Interrante | Dessert
Ingredients: 1 kg (2.2 lb) of ricotta cheese, 400 g (14.1 oz) of sugar, 8 eggs, 1 sachet of vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon, some dark chocolate, 3-4 leaves of sage (as desired)
Preparation: Beat the eggs, add the sugar and mix properly. Add the ricotta cheese, the vanilla, cinnamon, chopped chocolate (you can add 2 minced leaves of sage to the mixture, if you like) and mix well. Line the baking pan with butter and breadcrumbs and pour the mixture in it. Place in the oven at 180°C (350°F) for one hour and remove the compound from the baking pan when it is cold.
Prepared by Mrs. Giuseppa Cusumano | Dessert
Ingredients: 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of water, a pinch of sugar, 250 g (8.8 oz) of ricotta cheese (dressed with grated lemon rind, sugar, cinnamon, chocolate flakes), oil
Preparation: Beat the egg in a bowl with the water and the pinch of sugar. Pour some oil in a small saucepan, heat up and then add the egg with all the ingredients. Make a sort of thin omelette and cut it into 4 parts. Place some ricotta cheese on each part then roll up like a cannolo.
Ingredients: Tunisian eggplants (purple), vinegar, salt, 1clove of garlic, parsley.
Preparation: Wash the eggplants and cut them in 1cm slices, soak with water and vinegar for 5minutes, drain, sprinkle coarse salt and place in a colander, for about 10 minutes in vertical direction to facilitate the flow of vegetation liquid. Dab (tampon) to remove the salt. Heat the cast iron plate, and greasy with a little quantity of the olive oil and dry it with table paper. Griddle the eggplants on both sides until they are well cooked. Clean the parsley and chop it with garlic cloves, putting in a small emulsifying bowl adding 2 table spoons of oil to dress the eggplants. Adjust salt to taste.
Prepared by Mrs. Giovanna Mirabile | First Course
Ingredients: 600 g (1.3 lb) of reground flour, 40 g (1.4 oz) of semolina flour, 6 eggs, salt, olive oil
Preparation: Mix the flour with the salt added and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. On a board, make a mountain out of flour and make a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the well and knead until a not-too-soft/not-too-hard dough is created. Let the dough rest for 30 minute, then knead again with your hands and roll out with the pasta machine (or the rolling pin). Cut with a knife into the shape desired.
Chickpea Soup | Mandrarossa Costadune Nero D'Avola
Pasta a mezzo forno , Aggrassato | Mandrarossa Bonera
Escarole and Tomato Soup | Mandrarossa Costadune Grecanico
Boiled Cardoons | Mandrarossa Viognier
Pasta with wild fennel | Mandrarossa Fiano
Artichokes fried in a batter | Mandrarossa Costadune Grecanico
Broccoli Omelette, Tummale di ricotta | Mandrarossa Merlot
Uovo in cannulata | Mandrarossa Vendemmia Tardiva Doc Menfi
Caserecce with tomato sauce | Mandrarossa Syrah
Grilled eggplants(or aubergines) | Mandrarossa Fiano
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