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23 Sicilian Dishes To Die For

No need to hop on a plane to eat these. You can make great Sicilian food at home!

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1. Arancine (Sicilian Rice Balls)

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Basically a risotto shaped into a deep-fried ball, the traditional arancine are filled with ragù, or simply ham and cheese. But, really, you can put in whatever you like. Just remember: even though they’re mostly called arancini (as people use in eastern Sicily), their actual name is arancine (literally, “little oranges”) from the Italian arance.

Try making them at home with the recipe here.

2. Busiate with Pesto Trapanese

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Busiate is a typical pasta used in Trapani (a city in northwest Sicily), made only from durum, wheat flour, and water. Pesto Trapanese is a local variation of the more famous pesto Genovese and it's made from tomatoes, garlic, basil and almonds. Suggestion: serve this pasta dish with a generous sprinkle of pecorino cheese or parmesan.

Try making this tasty and fresh dish at home with the recipe here.

3. Cassatelle alla Trapanese (Trapani-style Fried Crescents)

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Cassatelle alla Trapanese are soft crescents of dough filled with sweet sheep milk, ricotta, and chocolate chips. Sprinkle them with icing sugar and eat them while they’re still hot, when the chocolate melts into the creamy ricotta.

YOU can try making them at home with this recipe right here.

4. Panelle (Fried Chickpea "Polenta")

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Panella is the queen of Palermo's street food. Locals buy these golden fritters in one of the many Sicilian friggitorie (little shops or kiosks which serve only deep-fried food). Suggestion: taste them in a sesame bun, with a squeeze of lemon.

Get this vegan recipe here.

5. Pasta with Sardines

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Pasta with Sardines is an ancient, seasonal dish to taste during spring time, when fresh sardines are at their best and finocchietto (wild fennel) is easier to be found. There are several different versions of this dish and the recipes are not that simple, but they're definitely worth the attempt.

Try making it at home with the recipe here.

6. Caponata (Sicilian Eggplant Stew)

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Caponata is an incredibly yummy and completelyvegan dish made with eggplants, tomatoes and vinegar: a true bittersweet Sicilian flavor. It can be served as a cold starter or as a warm side.

Try making it at home with the recipe here.

7. Sicilian Cannoli

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If I ask you to think of a Sicilian dessert, the mouth-watering cannolo is probably the first one that pops into your mind: a crispy brown shell filled with fresh sweet sheep milk ricotta and chocolate chips, garnished with candied fruits. A classic!

Try making them at home with the recipe here.

8. Palermo-style Baked Anelletti

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This is the most popular baked pasta dish in Palermo, made with anelletti (little ring-shaped pasta). Carve your way into your own timbaletto (the Sicilian name for a single portion) and you'll find a heart full of melting provolone cheese, soft fried eggplants, and juicy ragù.

Pre-heat your oven, because the recipe is right here.

9. Sarde a Beccafico (Sardine Rolls with Raisins and Pine Nuts)

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Sarde a Beccafico is a fisherman’s dish made with affordable ingredients and rich in taste! These fish rolls are easy to make and you'll love their perfectly balanced flavor.

The recipe is available here.

10. Sfingi (Sicilian Carnival Donuts)

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Ah the Carnival festivities, the colorful time of the year when children put on their costumes and throw around confetti while we stuff ourselves with sfingi, these incredibly soft donuts! How to: put sugar and cinnamon in a cup. Pick a donut and dip it into that sweet mix. Repeat several times.

Try making them at home with the recipe here.

11. Trapani-style Couscous

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Another recipe from Trapani, but with an obvious Arab influence. While in Tunisia, Morocco, or Libya, couscous is cooked with meat and vegetables, this Sicilian version (called cuscusu) is served with—what else—fresh seafood? This is the perfect combination!

Try making it at home with the recipe here.

12. Sicilian Cassata

agrodolce.it / Via agrodolce.it

Sicilians sure love their ricotta cheese and this dessert celebrates their passion! Cassata is the most iconic and elegant Sicilian cake, made with sponge cake, sweet sheep milk ricotta, and chocolate, decorated with candied fruits, marzipan (martorana), and royal icing.

It is traditionally eaten during Easter, but you can definitely bake it right now with this fantastic recipe here.

13. Pasta alla Norma (Pasta with Tomatoes and Eggplants)

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What screams "Sicily" more than a dish of pasta made from fresh tomatoes, fried eggplants, basil, and ricotta salata (a solid and salty version of ricotta cheese)? Pasta alla Norma is one of the easiest and more comforting pasta dish out there.

Try making it at home with the recipe here.

14. Torta Setteveli (Seven Veils Cake)

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Yes, you got that right. Torta Setteveli is made of seven (SEVEN!) layers of chocolate and hazelnuts and it's the perfect birthday cake in Palermo or, you know, the perfect cake PERIOD.

Bake it with this fantastic recipe.

15. Pignolata (Honey Drenched Fritters)

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Pignolata (from pigne, "pine cones") is a dessert which consists of a pile of small crunchy fritters drenched in sweet honey and dusted with sprinkles that Sicilians like to eat, especially during Christmas holidays. Taste one and you'll come back for more.

Try making it at home with the recipe here.

16. Pane Cunzato (Homemade Bread with Tomatoes, Cheese and Anchovies)

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Pane Cunzato is Sicilian for Pane Condito, literally "seasoned bread". Originally seasoned with a good oil, salt, and pepper, this is the improved version of the recipe. All you need is just four ingredients: freshly baked bread, good firm tomatoes, good cheese (possibly primosale, a kind of pecorino cheese), and good anchovies. The result? The most rustic and delicious panini in the world.

Try making it at home with the recipe here.

17. Brioche with Gelato

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Believe me when I say that Sicilian-style gelato is the creamiest, tastiest, and freshest gelato you will ever have. Whether it's coffee or pistachio flavored, you just won't find any better than this. Plus, in Sicily, you get to eat it inside of a sandwich! That's right, it's called a brioche and it's a sweet milk roll you can fill with all the ice cream flavors you want.

Bake your brioches with this recipe here and try making the typical Sicilian pistachio gelato with this one here.

18. Almond Cookies

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These extremely easy to bake cookies are well-known all over Italy, but they actually find their origin in the Sicilian pasticceria. Even if these almond cookies come in many shapes and with different decorations, they are all equally delicious.

Try making them at home with the recipe here.

19. Insalata Pantesca (Pantelleria-style Potato Salad)

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Insalata Pantesca is the perfect Sicilian summer salad. It's made from healthy ingredients, it's fresh, simple to prepare, and you can store it in the fridge and eat it the next day: it's even tastier!

Try making this vegan dish at home with the recipe here.

20. Genovesi Ericine (Erice-style Pastries with Lemony Cream)

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Erice is a small ancient town on top of a mountain, where you can find traditional little pastry shops that sell Genovesi. These pastries were born in the convent of San Carlo, where the nuns used to bake them. They are filled with lemony custard and sprinkled with icing sugar. Eat them while still warm!

Try making them at home with the recipe here.

21. Stuffed Swordfish Rolls

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Sicilians love fish and especially pesce spada (swordfish). In this recipe, the swordfish rolls are filled with raisins and pine nuts which perfectly balance the salty flavor of the fish. Definitely a must!

Try making them at home with the recipe here.

22. Biancomangiare (Almond Milk Pudding)

greatbritishchefs.com / Via greatbritishchefs.com

The Sicilian version of Biancomangiare (literally "white dish") is an elegant almond pudding flavored with orange blossom water (if you prefer you can use rosewater or vanilla essence), thickened with corn starch: perfectly sweet and delicate!

Try making it at home with the recipe here.

23. Sicilian Coffee Granita with Whipped Cream and Brioche

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During the summer, Sicilians love to have a fresh granita for breakfast. You can choose among lots of different flavors: lemon, gelsi (mulberry), pistachio, coffee—to name a few. Of course, you must order it with whipped cream on top and the ever-important brioche to have the full experience!

Try making Sicilian Coffee granita at home with the recipe here.

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