Known as the “toe” of Italy’s boot,Sicily is located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Italy and is famous for its architecture, coastline and food. While Sicily is an Italian region, the cuisine is heavily associated with Greek, French, Spanish and Arab foods. This is due to different cultures dominating the island over the centuries. For example, the Arabs introduced spices like nutmeg and clove, while the Greeks bought over olive oil and pistachios. Moreover, the Sicilian land is incredibly fertile, allowing farmers to grow oranges, lemons, grapes, eggplants, tomatoes and almonds. Sicily also has a beautiful coastline that allows for fresh seafood to be fished right off it.With so much fresh produce available in Sicily, here are five must-try Sicilian foods.
An arancini is a deep fried ball that originates from the 10th century when the island was under Arab rule. Arancini balls are traditionally filled with ragu, tomato sauce, mozzarella and peas, then coated with bread crumbs anddeep fried. However, depending on where you are in Italy, arancini balls can differ in shape and fillings. In some parts of Italy, arancini balls are round,while in Sicily they take a conical shape.
H2: Pasta alla Norma
The Pasta alla Norma dish is typically found on the Catania side of the island. The original recipe was made from macaroni, tomatoes, fried eggplant, grated ricotta salata cheese and basil. Nowadays, it’s created using short pasta, fresh tomatoes, fried eggplant and ricotta salata. The dish is namedafter Vincenzo Bellini’s opera, Norma.
H2: SfingiSiciliani Doughnuts
Sfingisiciliani doughnuts are an Italian pastry that consists ofdeep-fried dough balls. They can vary in size but are typically four inches in diameter. Sfingisiciliani doughnuts are filled with custard, jelly and cream and topped with powdered sugar, and the mixture is made from butter, water, flour and eggs. These ingredients allow the dough to be light and puffy. Sfingisiciliani doughnuts were traditionally made on March 19th,as this is the holy day of St Joseph. However,they’re now served all year round and are particularlypopular at Carnival festivities and Christmas time.
Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant dish that’s similar to a vegetable salad. It’s made from fried eggplant and celery and seasoned with sweet balsamic vinegar, capers, pine nuts and raisins. The dish is quite diverse, as different regions of Italy use different ingredients in the dish such as olives, carrots, green bell peppers and potatoes. Nowadays, caponata is usually used as a side dish for appetisers that contain fish.
Cassata is a traditional sweet from Sicily that originated in Palermo in the 10th Century CE. The name of this pastry derives from the Arab word quas’at, which means “basin” in English. Traditionally, the cassata isa round sponge cake that’s filled with fruit juices and layered with ricotta cheese and candied fruit. The cake has a distinct shell of pink and green icing featuringdecorative designs on top.