Pasta di Mandorla

“Pasta di Mandola” literally means “almond paste” or, “almond dough.” If this name doesn’t ring a bell for you, you may be familiar with it’s close relative: Marzipan. The dough for these cookies are used in a wide variety of culinary delights. These “biscotti” (cookies) are a particular specialty in Southern Italy and specifically here…

Pasta alla Norma

From the kitchen of: Pina Sambataro Vincenzo Bellini is a type of hometown hero in these parts. The Italian opera writer was born in the nearby city of Catania in 1801. One of his most popular operas is called, “Norma.” It is after the heroine of this particular opera, the well-known Sicilian dish, “pasta alla norma,”…

From the Kitchen of: Pina Sambataro

PESTO! I love pesto! But much more so, I love my friend Pina who lives just down the street from me. She and her husband own a coffee bar a few blocks from my house. Pina, her husband, Mario, and their whole family have been such a blessing to me. They have been so welcoming,…

From the Kitchen of: Vittoria Pitadella

Riso Al Forno   I first met Vittoria last Fall. Her husband, Giuseppe, is the pastor of a small church here in Belpasso called “Shalom.” They have two girls, MaryBeth and Kimberly (In case you are wondering, no, their girl’s names are not Italian. Vittoria happens to love all things American, so much so, she…

Granita!

Summertime means it’s time for granita! Summer has officially arrived! Along with the extra-warm weather comes the perfect opportunity for me to share with you one of my favorite things about summertime in Sicily: granita! Granita is a semi-frozen Sicilian delectable. Think a much more flavorful and natural version of an Icee or snow cone…

From The Kitchen Of: Agata Arena

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…

From The Kitchen Of: Fabio Coco

My good friend Stephanie and her husband Fabio are two of the neatest folks I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the past 8 months. They are extremely kind, talented, helpful, generous, sincere, inspirational, thoughtful, hospitable and lots of FUN! Just before I returned to Catania in October, Fabio did a cooking class…