Sunday, July 20, 2014

Three Sicilian products in one dish, the busiati made in Sicily!

Freshness and delicacy are the words that best describe this recipe particularly perfect for a summer lunch with your family. What I also love about this dish is the fact that is made of a combination of ingredients that come from different areas of Sicily. That makes it not only tasty, but also unique in its Sicilian flavors.

Let's start with the artisanal pasta. It's called busiati or busiate, and it's made from the famous whole wheat flour of Tumminia, village in the province of Palermo. The sauce is made of fresh cherry tomatoes from Pachino (deep south of Sicily) and the excellence of the pistachio's pesto from Bronte, in eastern Sicily. You can also add your favorite cheese in flakes, like fresh pecorino or caciocavallo from Ragusa, just as shown in the pic on the left.

Preparation for 4 people:

The pasta from Tumminia (500 gr. pack) and the pesto are the only two products that you have to buy just as they are.

Wash 250 gr of cherry tomatoes under running water and cut them into pieces seasoning them in a large bowl with e.v. olive oil, salt, black pepper a couple of leaves of fresh basil and flakes of your favourite cheese (50 gr).

Leave the bowl in the fridge to cool down, while preparing the pasta as usual. When the water is boiling, add the salt and preapre the pasta normally, following the instructions on the packet about the minutes to be cooked.
On a plate for soup or another small bowl place the pesto of pistachios, adding some of the hot water in which the pasta is cooking. It has to become creamy just like in the pic on the left, but not too liquid.

Take the bowl of the tomatoes out of the fridge and drain the pasta when is ready, throwing it directly into the large bowl. Add also the pesto from the other plate and mix well all together for at least 3-4 minutes. 

This phase is really important because allows the busiati to receive all the sauce and juice from the tomatoes and pesto, which is the secret to reach that incredible exquisite Mediterranean fresh flavor.  

Serve straith away and enjoy with a full glass of cold white wine. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The tradition of the Festino: babbaluci, calia e semenza

I gotta be honest with you: when I was a child, we were never particularly crazy about the "Festino of Santa Rosalia", (or in Sicilian Fistinu), our Patron Saint of Palermo festivity. In my family, it was definetely labeled as a popular and too crowded event to be part of. Nevertheless as I grow up I decided to join the feast and I really enjoyed it. I do confirm it's the most popular and super-crowded of the festivity in town, but probably for this reason is also unique and extremely evocative.

There are a couple of things that are typical during the Festino night: first is the so-called "babbaluci" (basically escargot) that Sicilians cook with oil of olive, a couple of cloves of garlic and lots of parsley. I have never had the courage to try them, but some people really love them.

The other very traditional thing is called in Sicilian "u scacciu", which is essentially made of calia (roasted chickpeas) and semenza (pumpkin seeds), plus sometimes other nuts like pistaches or peanuts. 

The typical "Palermitan" buys a portion of those nuts that are placed in a "coppo", a brown sheet of paper, with the shape of a cone. 

The idea behind the scacciu is that people always need to have something to eat while either watching the Procession or waiting for the fireworks at the end of the night. 

I know it may sound strange, but we cannot stop eating, even if they are small little things.

When I went to my last festino with some friends, a couple of years ago, I met a group of Americans that were both shocked and fascinated by that incredible mayhem across the "cassaro", the heart of the old city. 

I think is a great experience for tourists to be able to partecipate to such an incredible feast, because as I said earlier, yes it's crowded and noisy, but it also reveals the real soul of Palermo.