Seafood alla Siciliana

Seafood alla Siciliana

  In the cookbook Seafood alla Siciliana: Recipes and Stories from a Living Tradition, author Toni Lydecker takes us with her on a trek through Sicily in which she visits fishermen, fishmongers, restaurant chefs and home cooks all over the Island.  The result is a comprehensive and evocative volume on the rich culinary tradition of Sicilian Seafood that not only gives us great recipes, but an insight on how history and tradition have shaped the wonderfully eclectic cooking of the island. Lydecker gives us well written and easy to follow recipes for classic Sicilian dishes such as Pasta con le Sarde, Involltini di Pesce Spada (she gives us two variations of these typically Sicilian stuffed swordfish rolls, including a wonderful pistachio-crusted one with an escarole filling), and Tuna with Sweet-Sour Onions alongside more modern riffs on Sicilian flavors such as Aromatic Salmon Steamed in Foil and Braised Grouper Over Sweet Pea Puree.  Interspersed throughout the book are great stories about the people and traditions she encountered as she explored Sicily, including  a nice section on some of the more memorable meals she enjoyed while putting together the book. One thing I was not expecting to get out of a book on Sicilian Seafood was great sandwich ideas, but the chapter on Savory Pies and Panini surprsed me with recipes like Pizza-Panino with Anchovies and Fresh Tomatoes and Sardine Sandwiches with Grilled Eggplant.  That chapter and a one page listing of Antipasti, Presto or quick appetizers such as tuna crostini and roasted red peppers rolled up with anchovies are just two of the extra little touches that help make this one of...
Homemade Tortellini

Homemade Tortellini

Last week I posted a recipe for Tortellini Pasticcio. What I did not mention in that post is that the tortellini I used were homemade.  I had still been tweaking the recipe for the filling and wanted to wait until I settled on a final combination of meats before I shared it.  The filling that I prefer contains ground veal with some pancetta.  It makes a nice light but flavorful tortellini that is equally at home in a cream sauce like the Tortellini alla Panna pictured above or floating in a simple chicken broth to make Tortellini in Brodo. Homemade Tortellini 2 tbsp butter 1 small yellow onion, diced 1/8 pound pancetta, chopped coarsely 1 pound ground veal salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese 6 large eggs 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour Make The Filling: Melt the butter in a medium sautè pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add the pancetta and cook for 1 minute, then add the ground veal and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the veal is browned through, about 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the cooked meat mixture to a food processor, add 2 of the eggs and Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese and pulse until well blended. Cover and refrigerate while you make the pasta. Make The Pasta: In a large bowl, add 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour, and make a well in the center. Break the remaining 4 eggs into the well. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork for about 1 minute,...