Toasted Pistachio-Cheese Arancini
This recipe for arancini—fried risotto balls—comes from Renato Poliafito, who got it from his Sicilian cousin Emanuele Sanfilippo. "Renato is obsessed with arancini," says Matt Lewis, "especially this version with toasted pistachios." These arancini are the size of tangerines, filled with creamy, cheesy rice, studded with nuts and green peas and encased in a great crunchy crust.
This healthy staff-favorite takes a breezy 20 minutes to whip up.
Sicily's caponata is a tangy eggplant salad served as a side dish or appetizer. This version adds bits of velvety avocado, full of monounsaturated fats that can help lower cholesterol.
Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic
"I look forward to going to Sicily for many reasons," says Frank Castronovo of his biannual trip to southern Italy. "One of them is because I'm amazed at how many times Frank [Falcinelli] can order linguine con vongole." Their exquisite, supersimple version is packed with garlic and a judicious amount of crushed red pepper. If you prefer, shell the clams before tossing them with their juices in the pasta.
Two-Minute Calamari Sicilian Life Guard Style
This speedy dish from Mario Batali packs serious flavor, thanks to the unique combination of currants, caperberries, and pine nuts.
Spicy Clams with Tomatoes
The clams used in Sicily for this dish are tiny vongole veraci. American littleneck clams are too sandy and tough to use here, but the small ridged clams called cockles are perfect.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Pancetta
This simple and satisfying risotto was inspired by a dish from Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene's famed restaurant, Gangivecchio, in Sicily. You can substitute bacon and most types of winter squash (like delicata) for the ingredients used here.
Citrus-Marinated Pork Rib Roast
When making this dish in Marche, Italy, Fabio Trabocchi's father used pork from neighboring farmers, which he marinated using oranges from Sicily, wild fennel from the surrounding fields and herbs from a container garden on the family's back porch.
Grilled Fish with Artichoke Caponata
To top meaty mahimahi at Marea, Michael White makes a vinegary caponata (a Sicilian relish) with fresh artichoke hearts, not the traditional tomatoes and eggplant. Trimming artichokes can be time-consuming, so buy marinated artichoke hearts from the grocery store instead.
Green Bean-and-Blood Orange Salad
"Blood oranges are part of my Sicily fascination," Renato Poliafito says. He uses the segments to add color and tang to green beans and reduces the juice with balsamic vinegar to make the dressing.
Grilled Mackerel with Sicilian Caper-Tomato Salsa
"Give mackerel a chance," begs Michael White. The Spanish fish he imports from Europe is grilled, which makes the skin enticingly crisp, then topped with a refreshing tomato-caper salsa.
Caponata with Kalamata Olives and Asiago Cheese
Andres Barrera's version of caponata, the tangy Sicilian eggplant dish, mixes in olives, zucchini and yellow squash and is topped with shaved Asiago cheese.
Pasta with Smothered Broccoli Rabe and Olives
Many Mediterranean cooks use clay pots to cook foods without added liquid. In Sicily, the method is called affogato and the pot is an earthenware tegame. In Paula Wolfert's adaptation of a specialty she enjoyed many years ago at the Ristorante Circolo Uliveto, in the Sicilian town of Trecastagni, she substitutes an easier-to-find cazuela for the tegame. She uses it to cook coarsely chopped broccoli rabe (ideally the young, leafy kind) with grated pecorino cheese, briny olives and meaty anchovies, then folds the mixture into boiled pasta and bakes it.
Sicilian Meatball Soup
Flavored with Parmesan and garlic and studded with raisins, scrumptious Sicilian meatballs turn vegetable soup into a tempting meal. If the soup waits, the pasta may absorb much of the liquid; just add water or more stock.