Sicily: Charming and Beautiful
Italy is one of my favorite destinations -the whole country is beautifully delicious -from North to South and from East to West. No matter where you are, the scenery is breathtaking with old fashioned country charm, awesome mountain and ocean views, and contrasting art everywhere. Sicily is a small island south of the Italian boot located on the Mediterranean and one of its most famous sites is Mount Etna.
A walk through the town’s narrow streets will take you on a path reminiscent of a ancient storybook tale while bypassing cafes, shops, restaurants, and countless gelato and granita shops. Indeed the best granita in the country comes from Sicily and the cuisine is simple and equally delicious. While the island is a contrast of old and new (rebuilt as a result of natural disasters), the Greek influence is visible throughout with awesome ruins, art and culture.
Sicily has a Mediterranean-based diet with pasta dishes combined with light tomato or olive oil sauces and seafood. One of my favorite dishes is Linguine Vongole (linguine and clams), a delightful, quick and easy to make dish (recipe below). This recipe can be made in minutes with tomato sauce or just with olive oil, garlic, peperoncino, and fresh herbs. Either way is delicious. I had it many times at varying places in town and it was delicious everywhere. One of the things that I enjoy and appreciate the most about Italy is the freshness and simplicity of the dishes as well as the great rosés, chiantis, proseccos, and biancos (white wines) that pair them.
Did you know?
That Italy is one of the only few countries in the world with the most registered food products (from wines, cheeses, cured meats, and more) under the Denominazione di origine controllata (controlled designation of origin), an organization that certifies the origin and high quality of their products, similar to the French AOC, an organization that certifies the high quality of the French wines.
Linguine with Clams
1/2 lb. linguine (or spaguetti), cooked al dente in salted water
32 clams (Manila or small cherrystone), scrubbed and debearded
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 cups roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped (plus 1 tbsp. for garnish)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the clams in a medium saucepan over medium heat, cover, and allow them to open, about 3-5 minutes. When they have opened, remove the pan from the heat, strain the clam juice and set aside.
Saute the garlic in the oil for 1 minute, then add the onion and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and parsley and saute 1 minute. Add the clam juice and season with salt and pepper. Taste. Allow the sauce to thicken slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Add the clams and heat through, 1-2 minutes.
Combine the sauce with the linguine and garnish. Enjoy!
Amalia’s Notes: substitute medium shrimp cooked al dente for the clams or add calamari rings to this recipe for a more substantial dish.
¡Hasta pronto and Happy Halloween!