Archive for category: Sicilia

Pasta all Norma or Pasta with Eggplant, Tomato Sauce, and Ricotta

Pasta all Norma or Pasta with Eggplant, Tomato Sauce, and Ricotta

Pasta Alla Norma is perhaps the most popular pasta dish to emanate from Sicily.  Pasta alla Norma dates back to the 19th century and the legend goes that it was so popular that it was named after Sicilian composer Bellini’s successful opera Norma to honor both the dish and the opera (according to Nino Martoglio, a famous Sicilian theater director). [...]

Cuccidati – Sicilian Fig Cookies

Cuccidati – Sicilian Fig Cookies

The micro-regionality of Italian life is mind blowing.  Take for example, regional dialects which until recently varied drastically every few kilometers and often divided villages.  In the southewestern region of Calabria near Bagnara Calabra a handful of regional dialects are still spoken and while the 4-5 villages comprising the Comune di Bagnara Calabra (RC) are separated by only 3-5 kilometers you’d be hard pressed to [...]

The Italian Mafia

The Italian Mafia

The Italian mafia is over 3,000 years old and much of the available literature on the logic behind why the Italian mafia formed is centered on numerous periods of invasion and exploitation by conquering states and armies in Italy.   Thereafter, Italians became “clannish” and started to rely on “familial ties for safety, protection, justice, and survival”, according the FBI. Four Large Mafia [...]

Ricotta Cheesecake

Ricotta Cheesecake

Ricotta has always been part of my culinary life.  My mother makes ricotta on a weekly basis and I grew up eating it smeared on fresh bread, with pasta, extra virgin olive oil, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and, of course, stuffed in fresh pasta such as ravioli and tortellini.  Given Ricotta’s versatile nature it’s no surprise many Italian cooks make [...]

Wild Fennel Seed (Semi di Finocchietto Selvatico)

Wild Fennel Seed (Semi di Finocchietto Selvatico)

(photo: Wild Fennel Seed (Semi di Finocchietto Selvatico) from Sicilia; you can use the seed as is or crush it via a mortar and pestle for savory and sweet dishes) Wild fennel, or Finocchietto Selvatico, can be found throughout most parts of southern Italy and is part of the staple diet for many Calabrians, Sicilians, etc.  My father tells romantic stories of foraging for wild [...]

Angel Hair with Rainbow Chard, Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Sicilian Pecorino (Capelli d’Angelo Con chard, fagiolini, funghi e pecorino Siciliano)

Angel Hair with Rainbow Chard, Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Sicilian Pecorino (Capelli d’Angelo Con chard, fagiolini, funghi e pecorino Siciliano)

If you haven’t noticed we don’t do many dessert recipes on Scordo.com and the reason doesn’t stem from a philosophical objection to sugar, flour or butter, rather we don’t bake often because we’re, frankly, not very good at it (though we’re getting better all the time)! Baking requires precision and following recipes one to one; a process that goes against our improvisational talents [...]

A Columbus Day Weekend with Italian Cheese, Salumi, Truffle Honey, and Cherry Preserves

A Columbus Day Weekend with Italian Cheese, Salumi, Truffle Honey, and Cherry Preserves

You have to love any establishment that sells over 200,000 pounds of Italian cheese in a given week, in turn we’ve fallen deeply in love with the Pittsburgh based, Pennsylvania Macaroni Company.  The Italian food store was started in 1902 by Sicilian immigrants from Trabia and they now carry well over 5,000 Italian specialty items, including an online business that will slice [...]

The Ugly Beauty: The Italian Lemon

The Ugly Beauty: The Italian Lemon

  (photo: Femminello lemons grown in Calabria) The summer months always call attention to the misunderstood lemon.  Most folks use lemon in the summer months to squeeze on fish, make lemonade, and in their favorite cocktail.  And the Eureka and Lisbon varieties grown in the US (mostly in California and Arizona) are great for the aforementioned tasks.  Prior to the beginning of [...]

Stovetop Eggplant Parmigiana

Stovetop Eggplant Parmigiana

One of the interesting culinary tidbits in Calabria is that most home cooks do not use their oven during the summer months given the intense weather.  The logic makes sense, however what does the dedicated cook do when s/he has a desire to make a baked dish?  Well, how about using your stovetop? Zia Giovanna used her stovetop to prepare a [...]

Returning From Vacation in Calabria: Italian Living as Art

Returning From Vacation in Calabria: Italian Living as Art

Driving on the A3 autostrada from the Reggio Calabria airport to the village of Pellegrina (a tiny Comune di Bagnara Calabra) my mood changes instantly.  I’m greeted by a penetrating sun, flowing sea breezes, and intoxicating smells of earth.  The greeting has come courtesy of Calabria, the terra of my parents and the very foundation of my soul. Yes, I’ve been [...]