Cooking in Sicily

Since our move here, my day to day to life has changed pretty drastically. Mostly in that I don’t go to work, and I spend a lot more time at home. I would say that makes me a housewife, but my research has led me to believe that Sicilian housewives are a whole different breed of housewife, and I do not meet the criteria. My floors are usually kind of dirty, I don’t wear high heels to do my grocery shopping, and I don’t iron anything. I am pretty certain that my cooking doesn’t meet the standards either. However, since that is the household “chore” I enjoy the most, it’s where I focus my time when I’m not catching up on episodes of “24”.

Food in Sicily is awesome. Not just the restaurants, but the markets. The markets have fresh mussels, clams, tuna, swordfish, live octopus, live snails, fresh chickens, steak, cheese, sausage, a multitude of things I cannot identify, fresh eggs, and all the fruits and vegetables you could want. It’s all pretty cheap, and I can walk there from my house. Unlike the stores at home, they only sell what’s in season, so everything is fresh. The downside of this though, is that if it’s not in season, you can’t find it. Oh, you bought all the ingredients for ribollita and just need kale? Too bad, kale isn’t in season and therefore does not exist here. You want an orange? Nope. Spinach? Nope, too hot for spinach. I suppose I’ve been spoiled in California by being able to get both wonderfully fresh seasonal produce, but also out-of-season produce that is still pretty good quality. By the time I leave here I’ll have the weather/food relationship figured out. For now, I’m just learning to be flexible in my cooking and not have my heart set on making any one dish that night.

Even though I’m obviously perfectly able to make non-Italian food here, I figure that as long as I have such good access to cheap, quality, Italian ingredients, I may as well use them. I’ve been making pasta carbonara, cannoli, bean soup, ricotta gnocchi, fresh sauces, pasta with clams, and figuring out how to work prosciutto and mozzarella into as many dishes as I can. I’ve taken a couple cooking classes and learned how to make semifreddo, granita, and brioche. Incidentally, by learning granita and brioche, one knows how to make about 50% of what Sicilians seem to eat during the summer. Breakfast is usually a croissant filled with chocolate, cream, or jam. In the summer, that can be replaced with gelato and brioche (yes, that’s ice cream for breakfast). Lunch in the summer? Often times it’s granita and brioche. And then a big dinner. If you’re counting, that’s a pastry, ice cream, or granita for 2 out of 3 meals. Not that I’m complaining 😉


Farfalline – Little Butterflies


Pasta Carbonara


Ricotta Gnocchi





About roxy jamieson

Discovering life in Sicily.
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8 Responses to Cooking in Sicily

  1. Sally Dunbar says:

    You forgot to mention the other talent you are developing, which is writing. And I can’t wait for our Palermo cooking class! Yum.

    Sally Dunbar (916) 524-1548

  2. Elizabeth Raab says:

    OMG!! I love this post!

    I make carbonara all the time! It’s my favorite! I do a vegetarian one with mushrooms too. Oh man, your skills are going to be (and are now) wildly amazing!! Yay!!




    compliments of my iPhone…



  3. Cristie says:

    The food you are cooking sounds and looks amazing!! Can’t wait for you to teach us when you get back…or better yet, cook us a real Italian meal! And glad to hear you are watching 24! We just finished watching the most recent mini season, but it wasn’t as good as the past full seasons. We miss you and think of you often!!

  4. Kim Mraovich says:

    The clams look delicous! How fun to be able to walk to the market and get the fresh catch of the day. I love seasfood! Have you & Sean gone fishing yet? I think you should make friends with some local fishermen there… 🙂 Miss you lots xoxo

  5. LinnyAnne says:

    This is so great, when you said you were moving to Italy, I was picturing you walking to markets, taking cooking lessons and cooking lots of fresh Italian food! and you are 🙂 Hope that the lifestlye change of being more home centered is a good one for you and not too rough he he .
    xoxo -L

  6. How appropriate I just sent you a recipe today before even seeing this post! Hopefully the simple ingredients will be easy to find.

    It sounds like you basically are living 100% off of a CSA box 🙂 which sounds both exciting and challenging. Are you tired of pasta yet?

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