I’ve taken many cooking classes in Sicily throughout my travels, and I always learn something new. But what I take home with me goes beyond the recipes that we have learned in our hands-on lessons and market tours–what I have absorbed is the sensibility of how a Sicilian cooks. First thought: What is in season? What’s at the market today? Second thought: How good is my olive oil? Third thought: What kind of pasta will I make? … All of which leads me to how I cook at home.
Tonight, for example, I made this dish, here, in the New York City area. I started with porcini mushrooms (in season) and chestnuts (also in season) and some fresh kale (not Sicilian, but local and in season); I always have a couple of different olive oils in my cupboard–one for sauteing and one for dressing; and after adding chicken sausage and cannellini beans for some protein (that’s the American in me), then I thought: pair this with short macaroni (Casarecce, a typical Sicilian pasta shape; This one made of whole wheat). Some sauteed red onion for sweetness and Trapani sea salt to taste… toss it all together and “Eccolo!” within 20 minutes I have a very healthful, gourmet meal. So, not exactly Sicilian, but with the concepts of how a Sicilian would cook if she lived in New York.
I tell you this because I invite you to come to Sicily with me in September for Stirring Sicily, a cooking in Sicily experience that also includes touring some of the island’s UNESCO World Heritage sites and of course, interaction with locals and exposure to the region’s fascinating culture. It will delight you in more ways than one.
Over the next few days, I’ll be telling your more. Day one is on September 13, when we meet at Catania’s airport before checking in to our family-run inn in the countryside of eastern Sicily.
I hope you’ll consider joining me… It will stir your soul in more ways than one. More at ExperienceSicily.com.