Springtime in Sicily

Dave made: Involtini Siciliani
-adapted from Pomp and Sustenance by Mary Taylor Simeti (pg. 209)


1 medium onion, minced
1 onion, cut in wide slices
2 T olive oil
2 cups stale white bread crumbs (or panko)
¼ c pine nuts
¼ c raisins (or currants), plumped in hot water for 5 minutes
¼ c grated pecorino
2 oz provolone, cut into small pieces
1.5 lbs beef steak, pounded flat and cut into 2 inch by 3 inch rectangles

salt and pepper

Saute the minced onion in 2 T olive oil until soft, then stir 1 cup breadcrumbs, pine, raisins, grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Put a small spoonful of the filling and a piece of the provolone onto each slice of meat, rolling it up and skewering it. Intersperse a slice of onion between each meat roll. When finished skewering, coat with remaining crumbs and salt. Broil or grill for about 10 minutes.

Jessie made: Orange-Baked Olives


3 1/2 cups whole mixed olives, drained
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
4 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Stir the olives together with the wine, orange juice, olive oil, and garlic in a 9″x13″ baking dish. Nestle the sprigs of rosemary in the olives.

2. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprigs, then stir in the parsley, oregano, orange zest, and red pepper flakes. Serve warm.

Adapted from www.allrecipes.com

Baked Ricotta with Roasted Tomatoes
Serves 4

1 large red bell pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for the pan and for drizzling
14 grape tomatoes, cut in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh ricotta cheese, drained to remove excess whey
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


1. Position a broiler rack 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the broiler. Place the red pepper on a baking sheet and place on rack; broil, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes, until the skin is charred and blistered. Transfer to a plate and cool. Peel and discard the ribs and seeds. Cut the pepper into thin strips or bite-sized pieces.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a small baking dish (a casserole dish the size of the ricotta works best). Place the tomato halves in the dish, cut sides up. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes until the tomatoes soften. Remove the dish from the oven and set aside.

3. Cut the ricotta cheese in half crosswise. Remove the tomatoes from the dish. Place the bottom half of the ricotta, cut side up, in the dish and season lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange the pepper strips on top, then the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and top with the remaining ricotta, cut side down.

4. Sprinkle with Parmesan and drizzle with a little extra oil. Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is hot and the top is golden.

5. Serve with sliced baguette or crostini.

Adapted from www.cookstr.com


Kelli Made: Sicilian Pistachio cookies

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups shelled, unsalted pistachios (aprox 16 ounces whole pistachios)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 325. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with butter.  Put 1 cup of pistachios in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped but not powder.  In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Mix pistachios into flour mixture. Set aside. In a large bowl (or standing mixer), beat butter with 1 1/4 cups sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs. Scrape down sides of bowl, then beat in vanilla and almond extracts and lemon zest.  Beat flour mixture into sugar mixture in two additions. The dough will be soft. Use a spatula (I used mostly my hands) to spread the dough evenly across the baking sheet. Roughly chop remaining cup of pistachios and sprinkle them over the dough. Sprinkle remaining two teaspoons of sugar over the dough. Bake dough for 35 to 40 minutes, or until it turns golden brown at the edges. Allow dough to cool on wire rack for 35 minutes, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Zach Made: Baked Fennel Sfincione
Serves 5


  • 5 fennel bulbs
  • 1 can 28 oz. Italian peeled tomatoa (I used San Marzano) roughly diced
  • 2 medium size onions, thickly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 anchovy fillets (or more)
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • salt, pepper and oregano to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of grated caciocavallo or Parmigiano cheese
  • 4 oz. caciocavallo fresco or provola cheese diced very small (you can used smoked buffalo mozzarella as well)
  • 3 tablespoon of bread crumbs
  • salt, pepper and oregano to taste

Preparation :

The Fennel
To prepare the fennel for cooking, trim, cut base, discard rough outer leaves and stalks. Discard any wilted or bruised part.

Set aside the inside tender green leaves attached in the center of the white bulbous part, to be used as garnish or to flavor other recipes.

Cut each fennel vertically into ¼ inch slices and wash carefully.

The Fennel
Over high heat, set a 6 quart sauce pot with 4 quarts of water. When water begins to boil, place the fennel in it, add salt to taste and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Fennel should be al dente, if they are too hard extend cooking time.
Using a slotted spoon place the fennel to drain in a colander and set on the side.

In a 6 quart saucepan combine the sliced onions with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and place over a medium heat. When the onion turns light golden in color, remove half of the sautéed onions and set on the side; add to saucepan the tomato, the basil, salt and pepper to taste. Increase to a high heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
When it returns to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Cut the anchovies in small pieces, place in a dish and set aside.

Grease a 9 inch round baking dish and coat with breadcrumbs.
Pour a ladle of sauce in the baking dish and place the fennel in layers, covering each layer with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce, some sautéed onions, a few pieces of anchovies, a few pieces of diced cheese, a sprinkle of cheese and bread crumbs, some basil and continue until all ingredients are finished. Sprinkle some oregano and bread crumbs. Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top.
Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

Garnish with some of the fennel’s tender green leaves and serve hot or at room temperature.


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