There are a few types of Sicilian food we’re very familiar with in America, like Sicilian pizza and cannolis. However, the way we make them is not always the way true Sicilian people make them. Explore these and other Sicilian recipes that make up some of the best Sicilian food.
Caponata is a pillar of Sicilian cuisine. The star ingredient is eggplant, which is one of the most important foods in this region, but there is also a melange of all sorts of other vegetables and spices. A caponata recipe can consist of eggplant, onions, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, olives, celery and peppers. Part of what makes caponata so flavorful is the fact that it is influenced by Arabic cuisine, since North Africa is not far from Sicily’s shores.
Pasta alla Norma
Pasta alla Norma is another ubiquitous Sicilian recipe that centers around eggplant. The recipe for Pasta alla Norma is extremely simple: eggplant, chopped tomatoes, basil, ricotta salata, and penne pasta or rigatoni pasta. This is a go-to Sicilian pasta dish that never fails!
Sfincione (Sicilian Pizza)
In America, we recognize the Sicilian pizza as being square with a huge crust and generous amounts of sauce and cheese. While this is inarguably delicious, it is not technically Sicilian pizza. Called Sfincione in Italy, this Sicilian food doesn’t have a blanket of gooey, melted cheese. Instead, the thick, bread-like crust is topped with a tomato sauce containing ingredients like anchovies and onions. If any cheese is added, it is typically a light sprinkling of grated cheese.
Arancini are fried Sicilian rice balls that typically also contain cheese and meat sauce. However, in Sicily Arancini balls aren’t always round—they’re often conical in shape. Sicily’s favorite street food, Arancini balls are comforting and delicious portable treats. Not a meat-eater? Try making it the vegan way, along with these other vegan Italian recipes.
Couscous alla Trapanese
Trapani is located in the Northwestern part of Sicily. The spices and flavor profiles here are not the same as other Sicilian locales. In Trapani, Moroccan and Mediterranean influences collide to bring foodies dishes like Couscous alla Trapanese. This couscous contains fish and other seafood and is seasoned with spices such as garlic, saffron, and paprika. It is also common to include sliced almonds. Try ancient grain Sicilian pasta busiate.
Pasta con le Sarde
Sardines are prevalent in Sicilian cuisine, and one of the most popular Sicilian recipes is Pasta con le Sarde—literally, pasta with sardines. This Sicilian pasta dish truly stands out amongst other types of pasta recipes in Italy. Pasta con le Sarde is made with a sauce which consists of anchovies, onions, sardines, fennel, raisins, and pine nuts, amongst other things. It is a uniquely Sicilian dish you must try if you visit Palermo.
The Sicilian people are responsible for one of the world’s favorite and most popular desserts: the cannoli. Most people in the United States only think of the cannoli as a ricotta-filled pastry containing chocolate chips, but this savory-sweet confection is also typically made with pistachios in Sicily. Candied fruits are also a popular ingredient in Sicilian cannolis. Buy cannoli shells from Sicily.
This colorful Sicilian dessert is packed with many different flavors and textures, from sponge cake to marzipan to candied fruit. Cassata cake combines several types of Italian sweets into one mind-blowing confection. Ricotta cheese and various flavored fruit jellies are also used to make this one-of-a-kind dessert.