21 Best Sicilian Recipes
Like a stone being booted across the water from Calabria to Tunisia, Sicily sits almost in the center of the Mediterranean Sea. As a result, Sicily has had more than its share of contact with its neighbors over the centuries — Phoenicians, Byzantines, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Spanish, etc., they've all invaded or traded with (or both) Sicily. You'll taste this deep, rich history in the food coming out of Sicilian kitchens. Here's a collection of top-rated Sicilian-inspired recipes that honor this long tradition and showcase the finest Sicilian ingredients — tomatoes, eggplant, citrus, almonds, basil, anchovies, sardines, tuna, and much more.
Pasta alla Norma
Here's a traditional Sicilian recipe from Catania, on Sicily's east coast that shows off the area's fresh ingredients. You'll toss pasta with a simple tomato sauce and top it with fried eggplant, ricotta salata, and hot peppers. "The cut of pasta is not too important, it is good even with spaghetti," says Buckwheat Queen, the recipe submitter. "This is an original recipe given to me from Sicilian relatives."
Sicilian Blood Orange Salad
This simple refreshing salad requires only four ingredients. "This is one of my favorite summer dishes, refreshing and deliciously healthy!" says Rochelle Brooks Thompson. " I was given this recipe by a Sicilian friend while living in Sicily, Italy. My family adores this dish."
Sweet and Sour Sicilian Tuna
This recipe shows off the sweet and sour flavors of Sicilian cooking. You'll simply sear tuna steaks and smother them in caramelized onions and a sweet and sour pan sauce. "My grandmother made this recipe every Christmas Eve as part of the Feast of the Seven Fishes," says JoAnna Porreca Schade. "We still make it today and it is my all time favorite!"
Tomato Almond Pesto (Trapanese)
Here's a Sicilian take on pesto that uses almonds and fresh tomatoes. It's pesto in the style of Trapani, a city in western Sicily. "Great for summer-time garden growers!" says CasualCook. "This is great on top of fresh pasta or as a spread inside a wrap or sandwich."
Sicilian-Style Broccoli Rabe
This simple but tasty Sicilian-style side dish ready in minutes. You'll saute broccoli rabe in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes. "This is the way broccoli rabe was meant to be cooked," says iMakeItRainInTheKitchen. "This goes great with a nice steak or fish. Serve with crusty Italian bread and some good vino. The best part is dipping the crusty bread in those juices. Buon appetito!"
Sicilian Homemade Ricotta Cheese
You'll be surprised how easy it is to make fresh, creamy ricotta cheese at home. "This is a recipe for my Sicilian grandmother's creamy homemade ricotta cheese," says Orcashottie. "Great as a spread on fresh bread or add it as a topping to fresh pasta." It's also a great breakfast treat with fresh fruit.
Anchovies are sauteed with garlic in olive oil and served with cooked spaghetti topped with breadcrumbs and chopped parsley for a super simple, flavorful meal. "If you love anchovies and pasta, this recipe is for you," says DIGGER2640. "It's quick, easy and very tasty. Serve with crusty Italian bread, if desired."
Sicilian Grilled Vegetable Salad
This grilled vegetable antipasto features flavors of Sicily and is a great way to enjoy fresh summer vegetables at their peak. "Serve chilled as a summer salad or a side dish for steak," says impellizzeri kitchen. "Can be served on top of bread or on a bed of lettuce."
Chef John's Pasta con le Sarde
Here's a simple Sicilian pasta with sardines and fennel (both the wispy green leaves and the bulb) in a saffron-infused white wine sauce. Chef John’s pasta of choice for this dish is bucatini, the thick, hollow spaghetti. Garnish with crispy fried breadcrumbs and fresh fennel leaves.
Spinach Arancini (Rice Balls)
"I used to live in Sicily, and these were a favorite of mine!" says NM Dawn. "'Arancini' means 'Little Oranges' in Italian, named so because the little breaded rice balls resemble small oranges so much. While so many versions include only cheeses and meats, this version is a delightful combination of white cheese and spinach. We love it! This can be made the night or a couple of days ahead of time, and cooked at the last minute for a surprising treat for guests. I like to serve mine on a bed of fresh radicchio. Some people enjoy dipping them into marinara or sour cream based dips. Enjoy!"
Scacce Ragusane (Sicilian Stuffed Flatbread)
This delicious Sicilian stuffed flatbread offers familiar pizza-like flavor. "But the delivery system is unlike anything you've ever experienced," says Chef John. "The outside edges are crispy and crunchy while that saucy and cheesy center is much like a pasta in texture. So, while this is vaguely similar to a lot of things, it's really unlike anything else."
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Pesto alla Siciliana
"This is the recipe for the authentic pesto from Sicily," says Buckwheat Queen. "It combines a traditional pesto with Sicilian delights: ricotta cheese and tomatoes. It has a light and refreshing flavor. Enjoy it with tubular pasta so the pesto finds its way inside the tubes for a burst of Sicilian flavor with every bite! Seeding the tomatoes first allows the mixture to be thicker so it sticks better to the pasta."
Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes
In this ancient Sicilian recipe, fresh artichokes are stuffed with pecorino Romano cheese, garlic, and olive oil and steamed until tender. "Classic Sicilian way to make artichokes," says Buckwheat Queen. "I used the method in the notes not having a steamer handy. I added some white wine to the water and added some fresh hot chili peppers to the artichokes."
My Sicilian Ex-Mother-in-Law's Peperonata
"Camilla's version of a Sicilian contorno (meatless side dish) made with bell peppers, onion, garlic, and fresh herbs," says Buckwheat Queen. "It's usually made in large quantities so there will be leftovers to toss with either pasta or rice the next day. It can be made either in the oven or on the stovetop. This is the stovetop version. This is even better the next day!"
Sicilian Lemon Chicken with Raisin-Tomato Sauce
Chicken breasts are seared and served over angel hair pasta with a a sweet and tangy sauce that features some of Sicily's finest ingredients — plump raisins, tomatoes, lemon juice and zest, garlic, pine nuts, and olives. "A garnish of lemon zest, shaved Parmesan cheese, and a basil sprig lends this dish a professional look," says Larry Elder.
Homemade Chicken Cacciatore, Sicilian-Style
"This recipe was shown to me by my Sicilian employer years ago in Lynchburg, VA," says Kim Shepheard. "It is made from scratch with tomatoes, onions, peppers, wine, and seasonings."
Eggplant Caponata (Sicilian Version)
This flavorful Sicilian caponata features eggplant, tomatoes, olives, and capers and makes a delicious hot relish or cold appetizer. "Oh this is a keeper! Reminds me of my grandma and aunts cooking in the kitchen, lovely," says pauline. "Hot or cold on breads on pasta as a side with steak or chicken...this relish kills it. Family and friends loved it."
Swordfish a la Siciliana
Sweet raisins, savory olives, and flavor-packed capers stand out in this swordfish recipe. SARAHJE rates it 5 stars: "Baking the sauce on top of the swordfish makes it extra tender. The capers and olives are yummy. I also added a couple anchovies which adds to the complexity of flavor."
This Sicilian side shows off escarole, Kalamata olives, lemon juice, and capers. A great side dish or topping for a baked potato. "This lemony salad is served hot from the wok," says Charlie. "Escarole is a bitter green, but can be less so when grown shielded from the sun. In general, lighter green leaves indicate a milder flavor. Thinly sliced tomatoes are a great accompaniment. This recipe can be doubled. For a larger party, cook in batches."
Olive Oil-Poached Tuna
"By gently poaching fresh ahi tuna in olive oil, you can create a tuna fish of exceptional quality," says Chef John. "The taste and texture are amazing, and you can adapt this in many ways. Besides switching up herbs and seasonings, you can cook the fish to a wide range of doneness."
Authentic Sicilian Granita al Limone
And to finish things off, a refreshing granita, of course! "Lemon granita is one of my favorite things about Sicily," says Buckwheat Queen. "It's easy to make at home if a trip to the island isn't possible. Using Meyer lemons, which tend to be sweeter than regular lemons, helps replicate the flavor of authentic Sicilian lemons. Serve as an after-dinner refresher or afternoon pick-me-up. And for a nice twist, add a small scoop to your iced tea, like they do in Sicily."