The first Christmas courses of the tradition of Sicily
The first Sicilian Christmas dishes: “sfincione”
“Sfincione” (in Sicilian sfinciuni or spinciuni) is a typical dish of Palermo that has been included in the list of traditional Italian agro-food products, it is the Sicilian equivalent of Neapolitan pizza.
The name “sfincione” could derived from the Latin “spongia” and the Greek spòngos, or “sponge“, or from an Arabic term used to define a pancake and honey pancake. The base of this recipe is pizza bread, soft and tall, which is seasoned with a tomato sauce, onion, anchovies, oregano and pieces of caciocavallo ragusano.
Tradition wants the “authentic” “sfincione” is the one sold by “lapini”, who sell it on the street, shouting its name loudly.
The first Sicilian Christmas courses: “scacce“
“Scaccia” is a typical Sicilian stuffed focaccia that today is prepared for the Christmas’ Eve.
It is made of a thin layer of rectangular pasta cooked in the wood-burning oven and folded onto itself and it can be stuffed in different ways. The most popular varieties are those with ricotta cheese and onion, ricotta cheese and sausage, tomato and onion, tomato and aubergine, tomato and cheese, tomato, parsley and anchovies in salt, tomato and basil.
The first Sicilian Christmas courses: “timballo”
“Timballo” is a culinary specialty cooked in the mold with the same name and it consists of a pasta or rice dish, seasoned with different ingredients including meat and vegetable ragout. There are therefore several variants.
“Timballo alla Siciliana” (in English Sicilian Timballo) is prepared in the oven using “anelletti” (a type of pasta), fried eggplants, boiled eggs, peas and cheese.
The first Sicilian Christmas courses: pasta with sardines
Pasta with sardines (in Sicilian “pasta chi sardi”) is a typical dish of the Sicilian cuisine that seems to date back to the siege of the Arabs in Sicily under General Eufemio.
It was born as a seasonal dish, it could only be prepared from March to September, as at this time it is possible to find freshly catched sardines, a blue fish spread in the Mediterranean. The other basic ingredients of this dish are the fennel, onions, anchovies in salt, raisin, pine nuts, saffron, oil, salt and pepper and, of course, pasta, which can be of three types but durum wheat semolina is compulsory: bucatini, perciatelli and mezzani or mezzo ziti.