I enjoyed a lot of fantastic food during the six months I spent in Sicily last year; three of my favorite meals were culinary masterpieces skillfully made by my friend’s mom, Agatha. Agatha’s namesake, like many women in the Catania area, is the patron saint of the city, Saint Agatha. There is a huge annual festival given in her honor on her memorial day which happens to be today, February 5th.
Saint Agatha lived in the first half of the 3rd century. She has a very tragic but inspirational story which you can read more about here.
As for my friend’s mom, Agatha Arena is also legendary. Her reputation as an exquisite cook preceded her long before we were introduced.
“If Agatha made it, it must be incredible.”
Shortly after I returned to Sicily in the Fall, my friend, Margherita, invited me over for dinner. Seeing how much I enjoyed this dish, Agatha graciously gave me the recipe and permission to share it with you here.
Passata di Lenticchie
1 big carrot
1 medium onion
50g of tomato sauce
salt to taste
extra virgin olive oil
pasta (Agatha used ditalini but another small pasta with a similar shape will work just as well)
Chop the carrot and onion and cook with the lentils and tomato sauce for about a half an hour or until desired softness. Process through a food mill (you can use a food processor or blender but a food mill is much better because it separates the skins of the lentils from the sauce).
For two people, combine one cup of “passata” and two cups of water. Bring mixture to boil and add pasta and salt. Cook for about 10 minutes. Stir until ready. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and enjoy!