Comiso

17 09 2011

The Fountain of Diana, in the town-hall square, rises in the ancient Roman baths, and pours water from a spring through 13 spouts. The Gothic Castello dei Naselli, with an 8-sided tower and 14th-century frescoes in the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata, was rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake.

Inside the church there are a 16th-century statue of St. Nicholas and paintings by Salvatore Fiume (1983). The Church of San Biagio, that was built in the 15th century, is set on the ruins of an early 4th century church and surrounded by picturesque small houses.

The United States Air Force deployed Ground Launched cruise missiles (GLCM) to Comiso Air Base in June 1983. The missiles were eventually dismantled after the Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed by the former Soviet Union and the United States on 8 December 1987. The last 16 GLCMs left Comiso Air Base in 1991.
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Veal Saltimbocca

  • 4 (5-ounce) thinly sliced veal cutlets (scallopini)
  • 4 slices thinly sliced prosciutto
  • sliced black olives
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Place the veal cutlets on a sheet of plastic wrap. Place a piece of prosciutto on top of each piece of veal. Gently flatten the cutlets with a meat mallet, until the pieces are about 1/4-inch thick and the proscuitto sticks to the veal. Stick a toothpick in and out of the veal to secure the prosciutto. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to combine. Dredge the veal in the seasoned flour.

Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter and in a large skillet over medium flame. Place the veal in the pan, prosciutto-side down. Cook until crisp then turn the veal over and saute the other side until golden. Transfer the saltimbocca to a serving platter, remove the toothpicks, and keep warm.

Add the wine to the pan, capers and black olives. Let the wine cook down. Add the chicken broth and remaining tablespoon of butter, swirl the pan around. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the saltimbocca. Serve immediately.





Campobello di Mazara

11 09 2011

It borders on the neighbouring cities of Mazara del Vallo and Castelvetrano, and is colloquially known just as Campobello. Important attractions include the “Museum of the life and work of peasant” & the “Cave Rock of Cusa” which is where the stone from Selinute was extracted to build temples.
The land is made up of limestone and red & brown soil. The Campobello di Mazara economy revolves around the production of olives, grapes, almonds, cereals, sheep & cattle.

An illegal horse race ‘was stopped by police in Campobello di Mazara (TP), the municipal road “Bell”, near homonym of landfill waste, along a straight stretch of paved road about two miles. Thirty-three people, including animal owners and spectators, were arrested. They were mainly workers, farm laborers, masons, drivers, but also some young unemployed and elderly pensioners. Horses that were going to race there were nine in number. But the race, and ‘was blocked before it started. The owners of horses were given fines for animal abuse, while the spectators in the competition were also charged with the same crime. Anyone who challenged the contravention of the Highway Code, which provides for an administrative penalty from 78 to 311 euros in case of participation in any capacity, in races of animals not allowed on public roads.

Classic Sicilian Frittata

Sausage, egg, and sun-dried tomato omelet

In Italy eggs are not only used as a breakfast meal, but is often served for dinner or lunch with a crusty loaf of bread. I like to use chopped Italian sausage, but you can substitute, chopped pancetta, beacon, or even pieces of shrimp.

6 large eggs

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

Olive oil

1 chopped onion

1 red or green pepper, chopped

1/4 cup chopped black olives

1 tablespoon of capers

3 Italian sausages-removed from casing

Salt, Pepper

1/4 cup of whole milk

1 cup of parmesan shredded cheese

Buttered nonstick oven pan

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. In the heavy nonstick, buttered, ovenproof pan, place the olive oil and saute the onions. When they are translucent, add the chopped sausage. When the sausage is cooked through, add the peppers, olives, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Pour this mixture into the bowl of the whisked eggs and add the milk.  Pour this into the ovenproof pan and cover the mixture with the shredded parmesan cheese. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.

Slide onto a large plate, or a wooden carving board, and with crusty Italian bread and a glass of dry white wine.





San Stefano di Camastra

6 09 2011

The town sits at the foothills on the northern slopes of the Nebrodi Mountains, on a hill in a panoramic position over the Thyrrhenian Sea, with the Aeolian islands in the distance. It is famous for its production of ceramics, that are sold to visitors in the many shops along the streets of the center.

It is located about 100 km east of Palermo and about 85 miles west of Messina. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 5,162.
The village itself is a homage to ceramics with its panels in the squares, house street numbers, the signs and floors of the shops. It is the main ceramics center in western Sicily, and its repertoire is extremely rich of forms and colors, including among its main motives geometrical decorations in bright enamel colors.

Sausage and Peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil.

4-6 Italian sausages hot or sweet.

3 peppers-1 red-1yellow-one green-cored and sliced.

1 onion sliced.

1/4 cup capers

2 cloves sliced garlic.

1/2 cup Kalamata olives-sliced

Pinch of red pepper flakes.

Salt and pepper.

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning.

Over medium heat add olive oil and sausages. Cook, turning them until they are brown. Remove and set aside.

Add onions, garlic and peppers. Stir mixture and cook until onions and peppers are soft.

Add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Return sausages to pan. Mix and cook until the sausages are cooked through.

Serve with crusty Italian bread.





ENNA

9 08 2011

The providence, Enna is situated near the center of the island. Enna, the village is sitting on a mountaintop and affords the visitor a panoramic view of the valleys below.
It is unique as it is the most important city in Sicily not founded by foreigners. Scholars believe it was founded in 1200 BC. That would make it the oldest continuous-inhabited city on the island. Enna is the only province of Sicily that has no coastline.

The Castello di Lambardia is Enna’s most impressive building. Built in the late 13th or early 14th century by Fredrick III. It’s duomo was built-in the early 13th century. The city was once surrounded by walls and had seven entrances into its numerous cobblestone streets and alleyways.

Since it has no coastline, fish is not the main thing on their restaurants.

Oven roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic

For he best flavor, select yellow-fleshed potatoes or white fleshed Maine potatoes. Serve with Veal,  lamb chops, or steak.

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

12  cloves of garlic, crushed

1 1/2pounds of yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices

9 rosemary sprigs, salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees

In a metal baking pan over low heat, warm olive oil and garlic until the garlic blends with the oil.  1-2 minutes.

Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Place potatoes in boiling water for about 10-15 seconds and drain.  Place the potatoes in the pan with the garlic.  Sprinkle the potatoes with the rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes so as to thoroughly coat them with the oil and  rosemary.

Spread the potatoes out in a single layer in the baking pan. Place the pan in the oven and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.  Roast, stirring 2-3 times until there is even browning. Roast for about an hour or until they are tender (test by piercing with a fork).

Plate immediately and serve.





Caltanissetta

30 06 2011

This remote city in Central Sicily sits in the slopes of the Mount San Giuilano and overlooks the Salso River Vally and boasts a large seventeenth-century cathedral built on a much older church.
The city is 570 meters above sea level. Caltanissetta, is of Arab origin, as are many of the Sicilian villages throughout this area.
The streets are filled with old medieval charm. It’s main fortress is the Piertraroso Castle(Red Stone). It was sacked during the 1282 War of the Vespers. Palazzo Moncada, is a large building that was erected in 1635, but never completed. During WWII it was heavily bombed before the Allied landing in Gela.
It’s archeological museum is small, but interesting. The area is heavy into agriculture and in the sulfur industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta con Formaggio
Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons of salt
1 pound of elbow pasta
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of Gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons of Extra virgin olive oil

In a large pot boil the water for the pasta. When the water boils add the salt to keep the pasta from sticking. When the pasta is al-dente, drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Add the cheese, the butter and 1/2 cup the pasta liquid. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the mixture and enjoy!





Scopello

15 06 2011


The towers, that protect this village, give the landscape a mystery halo, which mixes history and nature. This village has risen from a Arab country house and was used as a system of defense.

Scopello lies between Castellmmare del Golfo and San Vito lo Capo and is packed during the months of July and August. It derives its name from the Greek Scpelos and from the Latin Scopellum, both meaning rock.

There are no hotels close nearby, however farmhouses houses are rented out during the busy summer months. The main attraction in this village is he bigilo. (Beams or towers) It’s a day trip away from Castellmmare del Golfo.

Sicilian Bouillabaisse

1/2 cup Olive oil

1-2 pounds of Oysters, clams, or mussels

1 cup cooked shrimp

1 cup thinly sliced onions

4 Shallots, thinly sliced

2 Bay Leaves

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large tomato, chopped

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon of fennel seed

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 teaspoons salt

1 tabsp capers

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup clam juice or fish broth

2 Tbs lemon juice

2/3 cup white wine

Crusty Italian bread

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large (6-qt) saucepan. When it is hot, add onions. Sauté for a minute, then add crushed garlic. Add tomato, celery, and fennel. Stir the vegetables into the oil with a wooden spoon until well coated. Then add another 1/4 cup of olive oil, thyme, bay leaves. Cook until the onion is soft and golden.

Add oysters, clams or mussels and shrimp, cut into pieces or left whole. Add salt, pepper and capers. Add clam juice, lemon juice, and white wine. Bring to a simmer again and cook about 5 minutes longer.

Into each soup bowl place a thick slice of crusty Italian bread.





Palermo’s Opera House -Teatro Massimo

4 06 2011


There are two opera houses in Palermo, the Teatro Massimo and the Politeama Garibaldi.
The Teatro Massimo boasts of the largest indoor stage in Europe after the Paris Opera House. The theater was built between 1875-1897 in neoclassical style.
Francis Ford Coppla, chose the climatic final scenes of Godfather III, at the Teatro.
Palermo’s opera season runs from November to July.
The Politeama Garabaldi, may not get all the glory, but it’s not slouch either. It is three decades older than the Massimo, and some critics say it is better acoustically. For art fans, the building houses the Gallery of Modern Art.

Cin-Cin Ristorante is the place to visit if you are going to the Teatro Massimo.

Buctini with Sardines is the Sicilian favorite at Cin-Cin.

Below is my wife’s sardine-pasta recipe

Buctini is a long thin pasta
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion chopped
Freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons capers (drained)
2 cans of sardines packed in olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and pasta.
In a saucepan saute the onions until soften
Add garlic, lemon zest, capers and sardines. Stir until well heated
Remove the pasta from the large pot and drain
Add the pasta to the saucepan and combine with onion, sardine mixture.
Adjust seasoning with salt or pepper.

Some diners like sand* over this dish.

*My grandfather called breadcrumbs, sand, and that’s the way he ate it.





Erice

24 05 2011

Erice is a 3,000 year old medieval city. On a clear day, you can see Cape Bon in Tunisa. The cobble stoned streets are filled with baroque buildings, cafes. The town is the form of a triangle and it is difficult to get lost. You are guided through the town with signs.
When you arrive by car, the first thing you see is the Porta Trapani, one of three town gates leading into the city. From there you can walk to the Chiesa Matrice, the most important building in town. It was built-in 1314 and the start of any tour of Erice.
On the way to the Castello Pepoli you have a fantastic view far over the countryside and the sea.

The locals say that Erice has two faces. There is the bright face that smiles during the hot summer. Then there is the mask of winter when, covered with mist, the town seems to drop back to its origins.


The Cannoli is the centerpiece of pastry in Sicily. Easy to make and even easier to eat.
I suggest you buy the shells. They’re easily obtained at any major food store.

For the filling

1 pound of fresh ricotta
2 oz of soft goat cheese
1/4 cup of confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon of minced candied orange peel
1/2 teaspoon of orange-flower water
1/4 cup cinnamon
2 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup of pistachios chopped
1/2 cup of candied cherries

Beat together ricotta, goat cheese, confectioners sugar, orange peel, orange-flower water, and cinnamon in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed for no more than one minute. (do not overbeat) Fold in nuts and chocolate until combined. Chill.
When ready to serve, spoon filling into a pastry bag and pipe some into 1 end halfway. Turn shell and fill in other half.
For decoration and great taste, place one cherry on each end of shell.





Acireale

18 05 2011

Acireale, the city that sits at the foot of Mount Etna, on the coast of the Ionian Sea, is famous for its spectacular floats, and costumes. The festival dates back to 1594 and is rated the best carnival in Sicily. The city is also famous for its Baroque and Neo-Gothic styled churches.

As Sicilian cities go, Acireale is a mere infant. It was founded in 1326 and was built on the layers of lava from Mount Etna. The city was nearly destroyed by the 1693 earthquake. In 1941, it was bombed by the Allies, resulting in many innocent civilians being victims being killed.
If you’re visiting the east coast of Sicily, it can be a satisfying day trip away from the dull fields of Mount Etna.

Piazza del Duomo is the heart of Acireale. It was built in the 16 century, the church as suffered from the eruption of Mount Etna, and the area earthquakes. The piazza is dominated by the cathedral, and is filled with cafes and shops.

Sicily is known for its pastries and deserts. Sicilians have a saying about their sweets. “That which gives pleasure, and warmth, does no harm.”

Below is a recipe for one of those pleasures.

Strawberries in Sicilian Red Wine

4 cups of strawberries
1 1/2 cups of sugar
Red Sicilian wine- A Nero d’Avola or Perricone would work here.

Cut strawberries in half
Sprinkle sugar and fold over berries
Place berries in martini type glasses
Pour wine into each glass and DO NOT REFRIGERATE





Sardinia

3 05 2011

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean. Ferries from mainland Italy bring tourists by the droves to this island of beautiful beaches and mixture of Roman, Arab, Carthaginians, and Byzantine cultures. Since many of the island’s towns are further inland, the sandy beaches have been left untouched. Italian and Sardinian are the languages spoken here.

Most of this island is mountainous and is dotted by prehistoric castles, villages,temples and tombs. The flatter areas of the island are along the beautiful coastline. It lies just across the Straits of Bonifacio and the French Island of Corsica.

The island has a population of 1,600,000 people. Its currency, is the same as Italy, the euro. The main cities, that have the most three and four star hotels are, Alghero, Oibia, Bosa, its capital, Calgilari,

The cuisine of Sardinia is similar to the foods of both Sicily and Italy. Again, since it is an island, various sea foods are staples.

My grandmother’s recipe for a wonderful pasta with Tuna is provided below.

1 pound of pasta Use a small pasta, shells, bow ties,

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 clove of garlic, cut in half

1 stalk of celery

2 bell peppers, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup black olives

1 tablespoons of capers

1/2 cup of raisins

1 cup ricotta

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

1 pound of tuna or mixed sea food. Combination of shrimp, scallops, tuna

If tuna is used, remove skin and cut into small pieces

Place pasta in boiling water. When it is tender, drain and reserve 1 cup of water. Place the olive oil in a sauce pan and add the garlic. Add the celery, onions, peppers, olives and capers and stir until they are soft. Remove garlic and add salt and pepper to taste. Place the tomato paste in the reserved water and add this mixture to the saute pan.

Add the tuna or sea food mixture and saute until they are cooked through. Place the pasta in a large bowl and turn in the sea food, vegetable mixture. Add the ricotta and plate.