Author(s): Ursula Ferrigno
Sicily is an intriguing place. It is a beguiling place and its prominent position has led to repeated conquests over the centuries, which has left an extraordinary cultural legacy and a reputation as the melting pot of the Mediterranean. It has one of the world's best cuisines thanks to the complex influences left behind by the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spanish who have each occupied this fertile land. The island's unique food is bright, earthy and suffused with the intensity of the Sicilian sun. Not surprisingly, many of the typical dishes are made with fish and seafood. Cream and butter hardly ever feature; juicy tomatoes or the island's own fragrant olive oil is used instead. Sheep's milk ricotta is another staple ingredient, as are black and green olives, wild fennel (which grows all over the hills) and the cultivated citrus fruits that are used in almost everything from salads to desserts. Here you'll discover authentic recipes for the best food Sicily has to offer, starting with antipasti. Choose from Arancini di Riso (risotto balls) or Gustoso Olive Bianche (olive relish).Vibrant salads such as Insalata di Tarocchi (blood orange and red onion salad) are perfect for the summer as are the light soups and pasta dishes including Minestra di Tenerumi (courgette leaf and fresh tomato soup) or Pasta Picchi Pacchi (spaghetti with almond and tomato pesto).
Delicious meat and fish recipes include Sarde a Beccaficco (stuffed sardines), and Abbacchio alla Cacciatovia (pan-fried Spring lamb with herb and anchovy sauce). Sicilians notoriously have a sweet tooth and are among the best dessert-makers in Italy. Indulge in Pistachio Gelato, Cannoli (pastry tubes filled with sweetened ricotta) and possibly Sicily's most famous export, Cassata.
Ursula Ferrigno is an acclaimed and experienced food writer and chef who embodies the Italian and Mediterranean passion for good food made from the freshest natural ingredients. She trained at the Auguste Escoffier School of the Culinary Arts and has taught at leading cookery schools in both the UK and Italy, including the celebrated Leith's School of Food and Wine, Divertimenti and La Cucina Caldesi in Ireland. She toured the United States, running classes in all Sur la Table stores, is consultant chef to the popular Caffe Nero restaurant chain and has made many appearances on BBC television. The author of more than 18 cookery books (including A Gourmet Guide to Oil Vinegar for Ryland Peters Small), Ursula has also written for many publications, including Olive, BBC Good Food, The Observer and Taste Italia.