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INTRODUCTION In less than a year since his first work, Lillo Astuto impassions us today with his new homage to our story which he gives to us in a unique style, using the typical dishes of our kitchens. Using recipes that some will remember with nostalgia and that others will discover for the first time. This research was done during Mr. Astuto’s time as a student at the Istituto Alberghiero di Sciacca. Our author’s sense of affiliation to his roots has prevailed this time also. He has given us the gift of writing portrait of Castrofilippo that is sweet and bitter at the same time. The peasantry kitchen reveals to us the past hardships and difficulties faced by our ancestors, and they dealt with the misery and endured with pride. Sociology and gastronomy are intertwined in this literary work which we entrust to our fellow townsfolk as a treasure trove in which are stored tradition and hope for the future. The poor man’s kitchen of a time past is in fact today unfolding as an expanding sector of excellence, appreciated by gourmets (good forks) who love the genuineness of the peasant society. In fact, I believe that the most important result of this work was the appearance on our local restaurant menus of the dishes of yesteryear. To the owners of these restaurants also go our thanks for having collaborated with the making of "Castrofilippo a tavola". Not withstanding his years of absence from Castrofilippo because of his emigration (or maybe because of it!?), Lillo Astuto, jealously preserves some terms of our Sicilian vocabulary, thus also honoring the glorious vernacular that many today, in our area, tend to snub. To rediscover among the pages of this book words now in disuse in contemporary language is a great find that reminds us of the style of Andrea Camilleri when in his "Montalbano"* breaks into dialect conversations with high handed spontaneity. "Castrofilippo a tavola" is truly a work to enjoy with a folksy point of view of our customs. Good reading. The Mayor Salvatore Ippolito

Footnote: * “Moltalbano” is and has been a top rated Crime Drama on Italian Television. The protagonist Commissario Montalbano is the star detective. The show is based in Sicily. The detective when he tends to loose his temper or when needs to speak on familiar terms with colleges or suspects will speak in the Sicilian dialect.


PREFACE The cooking of Castrofilippo is based on ingredients which include vegetables and grains cultivated by castrofilippese family in their plots of land. Each gastronomic recipe belongs either to the season in which the ingredients were cultivated or produced or to a special occasion. Even today, traditional methods of food preservation and seasoning are used in products which in the history of Castrofilippo helped it survive during times of crisis which are part of our history . During my research, I have ascertained that each family cooked meals with simplicity and spontaneity thanks to the abundance that our land reserved for us. Today however, with contemporary cooking we are experiencing the decline of that culinary philosophy. It is fair that we move ahead with time, but let us not forget our roots.

Lillo Astuto


1. LAND MANAGEMENT AND CULTIVATION AND ITS TERMINOLOGY The economy of our small town was derived and strengthen by different processes associated with agriculture such as commerce from the annual harvest surplus or the management of the large fiefdoms in cultivation (terraggio) or share cropping or in by renting out farm land (gabella). The owners of these fiefdoms were the prince and some of his associated well-to-do families. This type of feudal system ended with the subdivision of land undertaken during Italian unification which grave rise to the formation of farmhouses. Thus family enterprises developed around a strong cultivation network of vineyards, onions, and garlic. In the summer months, the cultivators would improve their family incomes by becoming wandering peddlers of their harvested products to the surrounding villages. The means of transportation; the donkey, the mule, the cart, were used by the vendors who even today form a modern network of our commerce. 1.1 METHODS of THRESHING or PISARE, and SOWING Before the appearance of modern methods of agriculture, sowing the fields was carried out by first plowing the land with the aid of draft animals such as mules or oxen. Theses harnessed animals would plow a furrow in the ground; behind the animals, there would be a person equipped with a cloth seed holder (coffa) who would drop the seeds into the furrow; after came the hoeing to close the furrow and thus cover the seeds, during the growing season the field would have to be hoed to keep down weeds and the soil aerated in order to arrive at bountiful harvest. The harvesting of the grain was done by hand with a sickle. The grain was sickled creating an armful of sheaves (gliemmiti) which when put together in groups of eight were tied together with twine (liama). Thus were formed bundles (i gregni) of grain. Afterwards they were allowed to dry and the workers would proceed to thresh the grain (pisatura), however, first one had to create a special area (laria) which was done by preparing a circular ground space in the open air, pounding the ground flat and firm and wetting it down with water. Water which was transported in pails (cangieddi) loaded on the mule. Then the area would be doused with barrels (quartare) of water. Once the ground was soaked some fava straw or hay would be added, when the circle was completely dry it would be filled with some bunches (gliemmiti) of grain, or some of fava, or others cereals like lentils, chick peas or orzo. The workers would then take the mule and allow it to walk around the inside of the circle. During this process the laborers would hear religious songs of praise and thanksgiving, songs which I have heard, having been at one time present at this now vanished tradition. After threshing the grain the workers would separate the coarse straw from the rest continuing with the destrawing (spagliatura), which would be accomplished first with a wooden trident then with a shovel. They would shovel all and throw it into the air so that the wind would separate the straw from the cereal grain. The harvest


would be saved in burlap sacks or it would be put in jars (visazza). Loaded onto the mule it would be taken home where it was deposited in the appropriate cellars (catuoi). It was hard work but it was the most anticipated moment of the year. All of this disappeared with the arrival of modern mechanical means of agriculture. 1.2 CUMBANAGGIU AND THE MEANS OF SURVIVAL This paragraph is a testimony to the hard work and sacrifice of the Castrofilippese. Notwithstanding all the sacrifices of hard work, they also had to endure hunger. All this is part of our history. In front of the little figure of the Madonna of Sinners (figuredda della Madonna peccaturi) (at the corner of corso Umberto and via Palermo), early in the morning the day laborers would wait to be hired (adduvati) for a day or so of work by the well-to-do families.. The light of the latern (dellumino), in the early morning darkness would point out the direction to the laborers who, once arrived at the spot, would wait for the (campiere) right-hand man of the well-todo families.even if usually “the boss could come, to select from the united group , while the others remained there with the hope that that another employer would want them. The true begging (supricchiaria) however, happened on Sundays, pay day. The well-to-do employers would accuse each other asserting that one family paid less than another, always to the disadvantage of the poor workers. Exhausted and disgusted by this abuse of power numerous Castrofilippesi chose the way of emigration. The first wave in America is recorded in 1883, in Astoria Queens, in the State of New York, which has become the capital of our fellow countrymen in the USA. The exodus to Europe instead happened after the First World War. A vivid image of this is found in the drama that is told to us by Giuseppe Russo in his book "Sicilia, terra di emigrazioni".(Sicily land of emigration.) The author quotes the story of newspaper report of 1905 who finding himself aboard a train in the station at Castrofilippo, assists with the departure of 30 emigrants with seven women "I stuck my head out the train window and saw black smoke with so many farmers with cloth sack on their shoulders. There was an incredible confusion. One did not comprehend who was leaving. They were entering and exiting from third class cars, sobbing, embracing. The station master was having a hard time controlling the people who were not leaving. You can hear the slamming of the train doors; you can hear the station masters whistle, the train begins to depart. The sobbing and the waving of handkerchiefs signaled goodbye�. For those that remained in town, working in the fields was another great agony. I don’t want to dramatize those times too much because our pride is stronger that our pain. We had to withstand humiliation in order to survive and raise our families. However, the unselfishness of dividing what little we had in order for our families to survive (cumbanaggiuo) with someone who had nothing at all is the reason Castrofiloppese laborers take pride in their strong sense


of unity with their work group. The so called lunch, was made up of a piece of bread, some olives o some fruit, some cheese, tomato and onion. Depending on the season, we would prepare some paparottao or some vegatables, with potatoes and onions: the meals were prepeared at the time of the metiri lu frumentu e pisari. The working day started at dawn and ended at dusk; you would travel by mule, or on carts or on foot. During the World War I (1915-1918), our village sustained a large number of deaths and casualties, placing great hardship on many families who in order to survive would go to viscuglia (small plots of land) of wheat or almonds, or of something just to bring something home in order to survive. It was the women together with their young children who would perform this type of harvest. 1.3 SMALL PLOTS OF WHEAT AND ALMONDS After the harvest and pasturing of beast were carried out and the harvest was taken home, the poor folk of our village would go out and search the fields or the area of the pisare for any remaining stalks of wheat that had been left behind on the ground. The same was done with the almond trees after they had be harvested (scutulati), hoping to find some missed or discarded almonds that might still be remaining. In the spring the townsfolk would go into the countryside in search of greens such as chicory, cardoons, escarole, and wild asparagus. (cicoria, la cardedda, la scalora e gli asparaci di ruvetta). These were all natural products which with a little bit of love and physical suffering, have allowed the Castrofilippese to survive with honor and pride in those critical moments that history reserved for us, thus creating home cooking that is simple but nourishing.

2. GRAIN MILLING AND SOME FLOWER USES Grain was produced by the majority of our families, because of this in Castrofilippo there were various grist mills. The remains of one of these can still be found in the Cuore di Gesu section of town. After milling the grain (mulinatura), the flower was passed through a sieve (crivu), in order to separate out the wheat bran (caniglia). .2.1 HOW TO MAKE BREAD


You bring some water to room temperature, you sift the flower in a bowl (maidda), you add some salt, and you add the yeast ( cruscendi). The yeast (leavening agent) was made with a piece of sour dough which was placed in an oiled fig leaf and covered with a clean dish towel which allowed it to remain active. It was then dissolved in the warm water prior to mixing with the flower. All the ingredients were mixed together and then when the mixture reached the desire density you would proceed to work the dough rolling it out and back and folding it over and over in the appropriate manner (scanaturi). Once well kneaded the dough was molded into shapes such as guastedda o lu chichireddu, the first a round shape, the second in a horseshoe shape. Most of the families in town made homemade bread and they had ovens made of giammalidda,of issu and terra cotta bricks, creating an oven that was round in shape.


One would heat up the inside of the oven (or as we say "famiava") with firewood made from dried grape vines or with the shafts or “ristuccia” of grain or of straw. After having heated the oven, you would take away the cinders or “brascia”. Then you clean the base with a broom made of “disa”. Then you would brush the top of the bread with a beaten eggs mixture which in turn was sprinkled with “gigulina” or “paparin” the first being sesame seeds, the second being wildflower seeds. All of the above was done after that the bread had completed its natural leavening. Once the bread was placed into the oven, the oven was then closed with the pizza board (balata); all this was done in a rush so that everyone could get back to the days work or because of bad weather. As an unexpected consequence of constant hurrying, recipes came forth such as the so-called warm bread or “pani caldu” that is bread cut in half and stuffed with olive oil, salt, pepper, or olive oil, grated cheese, salt, pepper, and some salted Sardines. With these variations were born products based on bread dough, that are still the most ancient recipes remembered by our town, and they are the'mbanate, i cuddiruna, i cavati, i cavatuna, la lasagnedda, la tagliarina, lu cuddiruni frittu. The ingredients are combinations of cereals and vegetables (see country recipes).

2.2 How to make dough The basis of our nutrition was made up of bread and of pasta. The Castrofilippese of today with the passage of time seem to have lost the traditional methods of preparation. Given the progress of the food industry, these new generations, motivated by the ease of getting bread and ready-made pasta, have been seduced to laziness; with this I do not want to say that pasta or bread are no longer prepared at home, but that to make or eat it these homemade items has become paradoxically a luxury. The beginning of ready made pasta being sold in Castrofilippo started in the fifties, from the little grocery store (putìa) of ‘za Filomena Lo bue in Bartolotta who was located in via Regina Elena. The shop was supplied from trucks coming from Licata where the pasta factory "San Giorgio" arose, which has given the name to the present shopping center born in that place after the failure of the business around the Eighties and Nineties. Our village also had some commercial level pasta factories, but the majority of our families made their own at home, with water, salt and hard grain flour and sometimes with eggs added. You mix everything together until you get a mixture that is a little solid, you roll out the dough with the rolling pin (singaturi) and you proceed to cut some “tagliarina”, some “lasagneddra”, or some “cavati, cavatuna o cavati fatti con il busu” In order to let the pasta dry out it was extended on a tablecloth or on a flowered cane or stick placed between two chairs.


3. METHODS OF PRESERVATION For grain storage, houses had catuoi. The catuoio was like a cistern for grain usually in a corner of the house. In order to naturally dry fruit, such as figs, each item was cut in half and left out it in the sun to dry. As night would fall the not yet completely dried fruit would be brought inside and the process would be repeated daily until the fruit was dried. The fruit once dried would be kept in a metal or crock container and during the winter would be used with sweets or as dried fruit. The same drying process was also used for almonds and walnuts. Once they had been shaken out of the trees, the nuts were harvested (scutulate), and their protective outer husks were removed (scricchiates) in preparation for drying. TOMATO PASTE (LU STRATTU) Fresh and ripe tomatoes were boiled, their skins were removed and they were passed through a food grinder. Once the food grinder has removed the seeds, the sauce was cooked until it became dense. Then a special area where the sauce could be spread out on drying boards was prepared and it would then remain in the sun until it thickened to a paste. Once the paste was collected and it was stored in a terra cotta container with a little olive oil and basil. “LI CHIAPPI” OF DRIED TOMATOES Cut fresh tomatoes in slices and leave them to dry in the sun; once dried store in oil with a bit of basil. OTHER FOODS A local process of food preservation is using brine (salt and water), an ancient method still used today. Olives can be are cracked (scacciate) and seasoned in garlic, parsley, olive oil, celery, and a little vinegar and stored in the liquid for over winter usage. For a short-term preservation, we would harvest fruit laden leaves of prickly pears (la pala) or bunches of grapes still hanging on little segments of vine and hang them from the rafters of the house’s top floor (tetto morto) or from the ceiling of our small countryside shacks (robba). Sheep or goat cheeses were preserved using salting. Garlic was preserved in braids, or in tied bunches, hung on the wall or in a dry place. Onions were preserved in the same way. Oil was preserved in special glazed clay jars enamel (giarri di crita), or in glass bottles (buttigliuna) for daily use. Castrofilippo’s olive cultivation produced enough olives that most families produced olive oil which gave rise to olive oil mills. The last of these is the mill (trappito) of the Heart of Jesus. The oil was measured with a traviso. Wine was preserved in a wooden cask. It is made in special area of the house devoted to wine making usually the cellar (parmientu); of course the wine was made with grapes grown on our own land. The grapes were stumped on by feet, then the mash was collected and placed in a large press; the juice was channeled into a large tank 8

which then was transported home with "lutri" so that it could ferment in wooden barrels. In Castrofilippo there were numerous "parmienti" which dotted the landscape. Some of these are still present amongst the countryside surrounding our town. The arrival at Castrofilippo and to the surrounding land (“hinterland”) of small grape trees (maglioli) and of disease resistant grafted grape vines (innesti) is most likely the result of the actions taken by Signor Salvatore Baio in the beginning of the 1920's. Or at least that is how his grandson Giuseppe Inzalaco tells the story. The wine tasting was always a moment of celebration especially when it was done in the fields. The festive atmosphere associated with wine tasting indisputably supported the high value of socialization that the first taverns of Castrofilippo gave us. Amongst these early places, we remember l’”Osteria Allegria" (the Happy Tavern) of Za Pippina Alessi (today see is 95 years old and lives in the USA) of corso Umberto (Umberto Avenue).

MAKING BOTTLES OF SAUCE (SUCU) The bottles would be washed and then dried. The tomatoes were cleaned, washed, cooked in a small amount of water, drained, and passed through the food mill (passatutto). When all of the tomatoes had passed through the mill you would add some salt, basil, and a little of preservative. Then while the sauce was cooking the canning bottles would be prepared by warming them close to the fire. When the sauce was ready, the bottles were filled, capped and allowed to cool so that the preserved sauce would last through the winter.


4. HOLIDAYS SAINT ANTHONY THE ABBOT. Our town celebrates our patron saint with liturgical celebrations in the church dedicated to him. The faithful, according to tradition, repeat what has been handed down from generation to generation. At the sound of the church bells in the early morning, everyone who made a vow to the saint processes to the church with their working animals, gathering in front of the shrine for the blessing. Immediately after, they bless the Saint Anthony bread, which is usually shaped as a body part of the miracles worker. On this day, the traditional dish is boiled dried fave beans. The same tradition is repeated in May, but for a more solemn feast. It is a spectacle of colors to see all of those animals parade in traditional decorations. In the past, during the construction of the church, the elders would order a committee to set a pig free who in turn ate everything fed to him by the townspeople: for the feast it was butchered and sold. All of the proceeds went to support the costs of the feast. Saint Anthony the Abbot, for us Castrofilippesi emigrants all over the world, is the feast that celebrates and renews the traditions of our homeland which we are very close to. His name has given birth to many associations which keep these traditions alive. THE SOUP OF SAINT JOSEPH The primary dish eaten on the day of Saint Joseph, that is added to the holy table is known as I Vicchiareddi. The tradition consists of preparing a holy table with bread, pasta, wine, oranges, fennel, sweets, walnuts, dried figs, almonds, and everything that one had promised. La prummisione: The most humble and needy families chose among themselves members to play the part of the Holy Family. The holy table would be prepared with a central image of Saint Joseph. The priest would come to give a blessing and afterwards a child, who was playing the role of Jesus, would make the sign of the cross thus every member of the vicchiarieddi would take his gift from the table. Boil wild fennel, fried cipudretta and broccoli, once these are cooked; add rice in with the vegetables. When the rice is ready, add olive oil, salt and pepper. There are many variations of this recipe, but the basics remain the same. There are those who add beans and a little tomato sauce, those who add garlic, but the result remains delicious.


Holy Friday Holy Friday is a religious feast fervently believed in and enthusiastically accompanied with various practices by the Castrofilippesi. It is a day of ceremonies and religious processions that start at the main church (Cheisa Madre) and then proceed down the road of the holy saints (via dei santi - via Vittorio Emanuele/Corso Umberto) towards the church of the sorrow (dulurata) (The church of Saint Agnese). During the evening procession as part of the solemn practice, the castrofilippesi sang songs in dialect known as lamenti. In the morning, the elders would fast until after the Crucifixion part of the ceremony was complete, at which time lunch was eaten. The run-of-the-mill meals prepared by most families included of a number of dishes consisting of fish, rice with tomato sauce or pasta with vegetables, however, meat was forbidden for religious observers. RICE WITH SAUCE Boil the rice, once cooked, drain it and add some tomato sauce cooked (accutturatu) with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. For an alternate dish, one would have boiled rice with some olive oil, salt and pepper. And some boiled in season vegetables or boiled potatoes, seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. EASTER In Castrofilippo, the pastry shop would limit its offering to recipes like sponge cake (il pane di Spagna), ring shaped cakes with a boiled colored egg in the middle (giambelli all’uovo), almond cookies or curly ribbon pastry made with almond flower, cannoli (cannola) and the “ciarduna” both filled with the ricotta cream. More traditional were the hard boiled eggs, decorated with a mixture of flour, water and thinly colored paper that was dissolved in the mix thereby creating a somewhat solid mixture that one was able to work with. This allowed for the creation of an artistic flower around the shell of the egg known as “panareddu”. In the other feast days “torrone and cubbaita” were eaten The recipe for these treats requires the mixing of almonds with caramelized sugar and then placing the hot mixture on a marble platform or a cutting board dampened with a little bit of olive oil. You then shape the mixture, allow it to cool and the cut it into pieces. This recipe use to be prepared for the feast of the Madonna of the Holy Rosary. An ancient Easter tradition is the lamb shoot; from the hill of Via Cavour called “della ficu”, hunters would fire their rifles at a lamb staked on the opposite part of the hill. The most common alcoholic drinks consumed are wine, il rosolio (homemade flavored vodka like drink), and vermouth. Non alcoholic drinks consumed were il passitu or spuma, and gazzusa (carbonated fruit flavored soft drinks). From the 70's till today, the drinking tastes of our community have changed due to the importation of alcoholic and non-alcoholic foreign drinks. 11

The Matrimonial Meal At one time the matrimonial "menu" was composed of ciciri calliati, favi calliati and taralli which were offers by the newlyweds to the guests who, in turn, would save the treats in a handkerchief. Rosolio (home made cordial) was usually the drink that was offered. From the fifties onwards, we moved onto baked pasta and oven roasted chicken with side dishes of potatoes and onions, wine and fruit. This meal was only served for family. The marriage celebration went on for two nights. There was dancing and desserts were served accompanied with rosolio. The ceremony for all invitees was held in a saluni (catering hall), while in the early days it was held in the house. THE DAY OF THE DEAD TRADITION The day of death (November 2) was a time to lay flowers and set candles for our departed loved ones in our cemetery. It was a day of reflection on the passing years and filling those reflections with memories of our deceased relatives. It was very moving seeing all the graves in the cemetery covered with flowers and lit candles. Each family would gather around the graves of loved ones, and later go find a departed friend or relative’s grave placing on each visited grave flowers and candles in order to remember those moments spent alive together. Children awaiting their parents return from the cemetery would put a shoe or sock outside their doors on the night of All Saints. It was believed that they would be filled with gifts by deceased relatives. Village elders tell me that as gifts they would receive fruit, dried figs, nuts or sugar dolls. These candies were beautifully decorated sugar statues which filled the windows of our stores and our parents would buy them and tells us that it was our deceased relatives who brought for us. Who was well off, would at times give out some gifts. From the Sixties until today toys are given for it seems that the older customs are disappearing. DECEMBER On the day of Saint Lucia it is traditional to cook the cuccia (grain pie). One selects and washes grain which is soaked all night before cooking. After washing it well you get it up to a boil with some laurel leaves (addrauru). Once ready, it is eaten with the addition of a bit of sugar. Some would add chickpeas in with the grain. This tradition was highly respected by our grandparents. Christmas Eve after Midnight Mass sanzizza (sausage) would be fried. The elders tell of family meetings where everyone would come together to play cards. On the table, oven dried fava bean,(favi calliati) or dried chick peas (ciciri calliati) were available to accompany the wine.


Capon soup or stuffed chicken Ingredients: For the soup: water, onion, bottled tomato sauce, salt and pepper. For the stuffing: ground meat which is called macinatu di carne, bread crumbs, parsley which is called pitrusinu, garlic and eggs.

Mix everything together until the resulting mixture is a little solid. Then stuff the capon or the chicken and boil it all. Once the poultry is cooked, take it out of the pot and use the broth to cook some pastina. The pasta will be served as the first dish, then capon will follow. This dish was eagerly anticipated all year long because it was prepared for Christmas dinner which was when the whole family got together. It was also a tradition to fry sausage, accompanied with fried potatoes and fried olives.

For sweets, the well-to-do families would prepare pane di spagna, (Spanish bread – sponge cake), some cookies with dried figs, or purciddati, giambelli - cakes with eggs or cookies with almonds, and the cannola or the ciarduna which were stuffed with ricotta.

The common sweets of the families were fried sfinci that were also prepared to celebrate the day of Saint Martin, respecting the proverb with says “one slaughters the pig and drinks the wine� (si ammazza il porco e si beve il vino).



5.1. COUNTRY STYLE OMELETS (FRITTATE) Our homemade country style omelets are based on green vegetables. Vegetable harvesting took place in the fields (giru), open space (limmitu) or brambles (ruvetta) surrounding our farm lands. . ASPARAGUS OMELET Ingredients: Field harvested wild asparagus are mixed with finely chopped onion. SautĂŠ the asparagus and onion in olive oil, salt, pepper, and then add some beaten eggs. Fry everything flipping the omelet over to cook both sides and serve hot or cold.

GREEN FAVA BEAN OMELET Ingredients: Gather and shuck fresh green fava beans and mix with garlic. Stir fry everything in olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and add beaten eggs. SautĂŠ everything flipping the omelet over to cook both sides and serve hot or cold. WILD FENNEL (ANISE) OMELET Ingredients: Mix a finely chopped onion with wild fennel that has been cut into small pieces. Fry everything in olive oil adding beaten eggs, salt, pepper, and oregano. Serve hot or cold. FRESH TOMATO OMELET Ingredients: Cut an onion into thin slices. Lightly fry the onion in olive oil. Add fresh tomato cut into pieces; cook everything with salt, pepper and oregano. When everything is cooked (accutturatu), add two whole eggs, cover the frying pan with a lid until the eggs are cooked. Serve hot. Omelets are simple and commonplace meals that today are made with whatever vegetables we desire. Recipes are numerous, however, the basics are always the same: olive oil, onion o garlic, green vegetables, beaten eggs, salt e pepper.

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5.2 Zuppe (Soups)

Zuppa di Lenticchie Secche (Dried Lentil soup) Ingredients: Onions, tomatoes, dried lentils, salt, pepper, zarchi or chard, (relative of beet) and water. Boil everything under a low flame until the lentils are cooked. Serve like soup with olive oil and hard bread or with "cavati o ditali." (ditali-thimbles)

Zuppa di Ceci Secchi (Dried Chickpea Soup) Put the chickpeas in water for 12 hours. Drain them and put them back in salted water. Boil until the chickpeas are softened. Serve with olive oil and bread.

Fave Secche Bollite (Boiled Dried Fava Beans) Put the dried beans in water for 12 hours. Drain them before cooking. Put them back in water and boil, until the beans are softened. Serve with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Maccu di Fave (Maccu of Fava Beans) Remove the skin from the dried fava beans. Soak them in water for 7 hours. Drain them. Boil the fava beans until the beans form a paste similar to being mashed. Serve as a soup with olive oil or with thimble size pasta.


5.3 Soups Cabbage Soup Ingredients: Green Cabbage or Kale, onions, crushed tomatoes, potatoes, celery, salt, pepper, olive oil. Directions: Cut cabbage, potatoes and onion into large cubes and add water with the celery (accia). Boil everything till the vegetables are cooked. Add some pasta. The type of pasta most used were il patrinosciu, l’italedra or gli spaghetti minuzzati.(broken spaghetti) Potato and Onion Soup Directions: Chop some potatoes, some onions, some celery and a little bit of tomato. Add salt, pepper and olive oil. Boil everything until all the ingredients are cooked. Add pasta, such as italedra, little thimbles or spaghetti minuzzati. Green Chick Pea Soup Ingredients: Green chick peas, onion, garlic, tomato pulp, salt and pepper. Directions: Boil all the ingredients and add the pasta (patrinosciu is recommended). Garden Vegetable Soup (Ortolana) All available vegetables found in the countryside during summer are used for this recipe. Each family has different variations of the soup, but almost every one used the same basic ingredients, such as onions, fresh tomatoes, celery, zucchini of the cucuzza di rascare type, green beans, potatoes, Swiss chard or (zarchi), salt and pepper. Directions: Boil until everything is cooked; add the pasta, which is usually spaghetti minuzzati. Then serve with olive oil.


5.4. LA PASTA Spaghetti or “Tagliarino Lasagnedda” with Fresh Tomato Ingredients: Cut the tomatoes into four pieces, add garlic and fry all in a pan with olive oil. Boil the pasta and, once cooked and drained, mix everything together. Season with fresh basil, grated cheese or bread crumbs fried with olive oil.

“Italedra” with Broccoli Ingredients: Steamed broccoli, garlic or onion, cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Fry the onion, add the broccoli. Pan-fry all of it, add the italedra or cooked pasta, mix everything and season with pecorino cheese and pepper.

“Tagliarina” with “Chiappi” of Tomatoes Ingredients: Chiappi of dried tomatoes, sardines, garlic, olive oil, capers. Fry the garlic and tomato. Boil the tagliarina, drain the pasta, mix in the sardines. Serve with muddicata crumbs or bread crumbs.

Cavati in Tomato Sauce Ingredients: Tomato pulp, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Serve with grated cheese. Cook the cavati in water with a little salt. Once al dente, mix it all with the chopped tomatoes or salsa. Serve with fresh basil and cheese. The same procedure is followed to make i cavati al busu.


Spaghetti with garlic, oil and pecorino (goat milk) cheese Cook the spaghetti, pour a little bit of water from the pasta pot into the pan frying the garlic. Mix everything together. Serve with grated pecorino cheese.

Baked Pasta (Ziti) Ingredients: For the sauce: garlic and onions, olive oil, diced mortadella, hard boiled eggs, minced meat, salt and pepper. Cook the pasta (ziti) which we call zitu or use rigatoni. Take out the pasta when half cooked and prepare a pan for the oven. Grease the pan with a little bit of oil and breadcrumbs (grated bread). Mix the previously cooked minced meat sauce, the diced mortadella and grated cheese with the pasta and pour all of it in the previously prepared pan. Next add the hard boiled eggs and bathe everything with beaten eggs.. Cook in the oven and serve hot. This dish used to be served especially at the wedding meal or at big feasts. It’s a very common dish that is served throughout Sicily with similar ingredients or with negligible differences.


5.5 Vegetables Boiled Tinniruma Ingredients: *Tenerume*, potatoes, onions, fresh tomatoes. Boil everything. Serve with olive oil, salt, and pepper on hard bread. Zarche in Broth Ingredients: Chards which we call zarche, garlic, onions, fresh tomatoes, potatoes, salt and pepper. Boil everything. Serve with a little broth, olive oil, and stale bread. Green Cucuzza of Rascare Ingredients: Zucchini squash which we call cucuzza, potatoes, onions, fresh tomatoes, *tenerume*. Boil everything, and add salt, pepper, and olive oil. Serve with a little broth and with hard bread. Patatoes and Onions in Brodaghiata Ingredients: Potatoes and onions cut in halves. Boil everything. Serve with olive oil. The Frascatula of Grain Flour This is one of the oldest dishes in our memory. It uses vegetables and tomato sauce as the flavors of the dish. Start by boiling the vegetables. When they are all cooked, add wheat flour little by little, mixing until you get a mush with the ingredients. At the end, you pour it into a *scanaturi* from which you will serve it. Ingredients: Wild fennel, broccoli, onions or garlic, dried tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can use any kind of vegetable or tomato sauce; in which case the same procedure is used, even if the sauce is prepared separately and the frascatula is prepared just with boiled water, salt and flour. You blend the mixture and pour it on the scanaturi and add the sauce, mixing it together. Serve with grated cheese and pepper. Peperonata Ingredients:

Peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, onions and potatoes. Pan fry everything in olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano.


GRILLED PEPPERS Place lightly salted peppers on a charcoal grill. Once they are cooked, dress with olive oil.

ZARCHE Ingredients:

Chard (called zarche), potatoes, onions, fresh tomato, salt e pepper. Boil everything and serve with some olive oil.

SPINACH Ingredients: Boil spinach then dress with olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can use the same method for escarole and chicory.

BOILED BROCCOLI Boil broccoli or cauliflower then dress with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.


Cut whole artichokes into halves then dress with garlic, salted sardines, pieces of cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and olive oil. Place artichokes halves in a water bath covering them half way with the water. Boil everything and serve hot or cold.

GRILLED ARTICHOKES Ingredients: Cut the artichokes into four pieces, salt them and place them on a charcoal grill. Once they are cooked, dress with olive oil.


5.6 The Fishes (LU PISCI)

There are not a lot of recipes for fish. Some common ones are fried fish or grilled fish. The fish was purchased from wandering vendors that come from various seafaring cities. The old recipes are those of roasted sardines on a clay tile (ni lu canali) or served grilled on a blade of prickly pear (ficudinia) Calamari Ingredients:

Calamari, onions, potatoes, tomato pulp. Boil and serve with stale bread. Stuffed Sardines

Cut the sardines in half. The stuffing is prepared with grated bread, garlic, eggs and cheese. Blend the ingredients, fill up the sardines, dust with flower and deep fry them in olive oil. Serve them hot.

Octopus and Calamari Salad Boil the octopus and calamari. Dress them with olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and lemon.


It was the most popular dish because every family raised hens, roosters, ducks, or turkeys (pipìi). These animals were raised in so called “nasse”, which were mobile cages usually kept in front of the house. The hens, white meat animals, when they laid few eggs were sold or butchered their meat destined to feed the children. The most common recipes are CHICKEN SOUP Ingredients: A whole chicken was boiled with celery, onion and a little tomato sauce. Once the chicken was cooked, you add pastina or spaghetti broken into bite size pieces. Chicken was served as a second dish. This recipe also allowed for the use of chicken entrails. FRIED CHICKEN Ingredients: The chicken would be cut into pieces and fried with olive oil. It would be served with a salad or with fried potatoes OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN Cut the chicken into pieces and surround with potatoes the have been cut into fours. Place everthing in a baking tin with onion, olive oil, salt , pepper e oregano. The same process can be used for roasted chicken with tomato, simply add some tomato sauce

CHICKEN WITH TOMATO SAUCE To start the sauce off, lightly sauté garlic in olive oil. Add canned or preserved tomato sauce with the pieces of chicken and allow the chicken to cook with the sauce till done. With the sauce you can dress pasta, while the chicken is serve as a second course. OVEN ROASTED LAMB Ingredients: Pieces of lamb shoulder or leg, potatoes, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix all in a baking pan with some oregano and grated cheese. Bake it all in the oven.


LAMB LIVER FRIED WITH OLIVE OIL Cooked on a charcoal grill. MIXED GRILLED LAMB A mix of lamb liver, lungs, heart, and spleen was lightly fried together with potatoes and onions. All the parts of the lamb were cooked, fried or charcoal grilled especially during Easter or Little Easter "pasquetta" (Monday after Easter Sunday). BAKED OR BOILED GOAT HEAD This was a dish that was not necessarily loved by all, however, it was a meal prepared by social clubs that would go out to drink wine at the local bars. At these dinners, pork was also served. However, the favorite dishes were goats head in sauce (cutina) and stuffed pigs feetst, which were dishes evenly consumed by various families. The sauce from the "cutina" was used to dress the pasta. PORK All the meat of a pig was used. The cutlets can be prepared on the grill or fried. Sausage is also cooked in the same way, or wrapped with newspaper on the grill. Other parts of the animal were cooked either boiled or in the oven. Our cooking is simple and natural with traditions inherited from our countryside. These include the use of instruments such as clay tiles called “canali”, or the “langedda” a clay water container filled with pieces of lamb seasoned with oil and onions and placed on the hot charcoals of a grill. RABBIT This is a very valued white meat. Recipes for the preparation of rabbit are few. The most common are: RABBIT WITH GREEN OLIVES Ingredients: Cut rabbit into pieces. Brown it with onions and olive oil. Midways in to cooking process add the green olives. Moisten everything with a bit of vinegar. Serve with salad.


Castrofilippese Recipes

Salads pg 24

There are so many recipes, some invented on the spot by each cook, for local salads with lettuce, onions and tomatoes. All three vegetables make the basic combination for a salad but the most used are the onions and the tomatoes dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.

Another Ways of Making Salad

Cut some oranges and dress using some olive oil, a little salt, a little water and some sugar. This process would be the same if you use lemons (lumia) or citron (scumpulu).

Herbs of the Kitchen

The kitchen herbs that are most used in Castrofilippese foods are pepper, oregano, bay leaves, and mint.


5.9 Common Dishes: Purpetta di Pane (Meatballs) Ingredients: Bread crumbs, garlic, eggs, and grated cheese. Mix it all with a little water. Add salt, pepper, and fresh mint. Fry everything in hot oil. With the help of a fork, create the desired shape. Pane con l’uovo a feddri (Sliced bread with egg) Cut the bread into slices. Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper. Moisten the bread on both sides. Fry in olive oil. Purpetta di Carne Macinata Fatta a sucu (meatballs with ground meat in sauce) Ingredients: Minced meat, salt, pepper, eggs, bread crumbs, grated cheese, and garlic. With the help of the fork, create the desired shape. Fry everything. Place the meatballs in the sauce for several minutes. Serve hot. Uova Fatti a Sucu (eggs made with sauce) Prepare the sauce to put on the pasta. With what is left, break the egg yolks and egg whites to cook with the sauce. Cuddriruni Fritto (Lightly fried dough) Take the dough used to make bread or pizza. Stretch it into crushed circle shapes. Fry the dough with a little oil. Once cooked, add sugar.

Babbaluci Assassunati (Snails with tomato sauce)

After cleaning the snails, or babbaluci, prepare the sauce with fried onions in tomato sauce. Add the snails and chopped potatoes along with salt, pepper, or oregano. When everything is cooked, serve with stale bread. The same procedure is used for small snails that are called babbaluceddi. These must be served only boiled, seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Allow to purge the snails for 1 to 2 days before the preparation.


Tripe (pig’s stomach) Clean the tripe really well and cut it in small pieces. Prepare the sauce by lightly frying the onions in olive oil. Then add tomatojuice and the cut tripe. When the tripe is half way cooked add the potatoes cut into bits with salt and pepper. Serve with stale bread.

Other ways you can make tripe with other meats The basis procedure of this recipe can be used for other meats like chicken, lamb, and beef. To make a beautiful dish of meat assassunata, the ingredients are tomato sauce, garlic or onions, potato and of course olive oil.


6. WINES In order to enlighten the read, I will here make mention of the worthiness of the excellent wines produced in our for castrofilippesi tables. The wine that is obtained from the flourishing vineyards of our territory graces the vineyard owners with state recognition of its limited geographical production. The relationship quality/price is incomparable. In wine production there are numerous cultivators who have been put to the test, some residing abroad. In town there a rediscovery of ancient vines that have averted the loss of a noble wine tradition. The wine of these zones in fact, has been documented as being demanded from Palermo from the Duke of Castrofilippo. With time, if these vines were neglected, it was only due to the meager revenue these vines produced. This was and is a particularly intolerable situation in a contemporary market designed for profit and driven by a globalization philosophy. Among the red wines that stand out and are making a triumphant comeback on castrofilippesi tables are the Nero Sicano ana the Inzolia Nera, this last wine is of a red color not too intense because it is obtained from black grapes which have a white grape juice. For a better understanding one needs to know that the Inozolia Nera, is the actual ancestor of the present day Nero d’Avolo or of the Cerasuolo, and of blending with L’Inzolia Bianca if they enjoy a delicate bouquet and an aftertaste that is pleasantly fruity. Among the white wines, those that excel are l’Inzolia Palpitana or cappuccia and the Biancola also called malga rosé or vulgarly biancugiuanni. From the blending of these whites with the "Grillo" a wine with an intense aftertaste if created; while malga rosè and "grillo” give life to a valuable amber-colored fruity wine. This is a discussion of alchemies that were never rash especially if we considered that these productions represent the basis for wines the Marsala.


castrofilippo a tavola  

La cucina di Castrofilippo si basa su ingredienti quali verdure e cereali coltivati da ogni famiglia nei campi.