Since we can’t go to Sicily this week – I invite you to armchair travel with me through the wonderful food and wine of Italy. Each day I’ll post another recipe that is my interpretation – delicious and a little better for you – of a Sicilian recipe. Come join me! Everyone loves Italian food! American grocery stores stock more Italian-American food items than any other ethnic kind, and Italian-American restaurants by far out-number Chinese, Mexican, French, and Spanish ones.
CLICK Below TO SEE A VIDEO of the Beautiful Coast off of Siracusa:
Today on Facebook Live we kicked off the week by tasting the southern part of Italy today – way South! Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is a fascinating mix of Italian and other cultures, just like the United States, it’s a melting pot. Positioned below the mainland of Italy and only 100 miles northeast of Africa, its cuisine is diverse and interesting.
Traditional Italian food like red sauce, pasta and pesto are cooked up here, but with a twist. Seafood reigns supreme and lots of fresh veggies and herbs make an appearance in the cuisine, a reflection of the beautiful farms and markets, and abundant fish and marine life.
Wine here is a blend of indigenous grapes as well as an ever-widening list of international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. In the past, Sicily sent its most grapes to the mainland, creating delicious wines for established Italian labels. Today Sicily’s fine wine market is booming with international brands like Planeta, Cos, Donnafugata, and Terre Nere among many others.
Recently, there’s been lots of press about its wine – its climate makes it a shoe-in for natural wines and a whole new generation of winemakers are making organic, biodynamic and original wines that reflect the personality of the winemaker and have a unique soul and character from small estates.
We made a Perfectly easy Tomato Sauce today – here’s the recipe. Make it Sicilian Style by chopping 4 anchovies and sautéing them with the red onion. Add a tsp to a TB of red pepper flakes at the same time.
Perfectly Easy Tomato Sauce
There’s nothing like rich red tomato sauce served up simply and deliciously on whole-wheat pasta with shaved Parmegiano Reggiano. Here’s a satisfying, fast and delicious weeknight meal, or the start of something more like veggie lasagna or eggplant parmesan.
We are using Italian seasoning in this easy pasta sauce, for both convenience and flavor. Italian seasoning is most often a blend of dried basil, marjoram, parsley, thyme and oregano – all Mediterranean herbs that bring lots of taste and nutrition to the table.
- 2 TB Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Chopped Red Onion
- 1 TB Italian Seasoning
- 1 Grated Garlic Clove
- 1 Cup Dry Wine OR Veggie Broth
- 2 Cans (28 OZ) Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and cook the onion with the Italian Seasoning over medium heat until soft about 5 minutes. Add the garlic clove and cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, oregano and a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper, cook over medium heat for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
***Make a BIG batch of tomato sauce – triple or quadruple the recipe. To freeze, place the sauce in gallon ziplock bags and place flat on a sheet tray. When frozen, stack the bags vertically in the freezer. They will be super easy to pull out for a quick dinner.
I selected Nero d’Avola to share with you today, one is Sicily’s most important red grapes. “Black of Avola”, the grape is from south Sicily, but its widely made all over the island. This one from Morgante is deep and rich and dark – perfect for a tomato sauce with mushrooms or meat. Morgante the winery that makes this delicious wine is located 45 miles from the Valley of the Temples of Agrigento. The property comprises 500 acres of vineyards and almond trees, and the region is ideal for grape growing with a Mediterranean climate and soil that ranges from clay and calcareous to marl.
Try Nero d’avola this week – If you like Shiraz, you’ll like Nero d’Avola!
Last Night’s Dinner!