A Typical Sicilian Lunch

Antipasti in St. Alfio

Antipasti (appetizer): Two types of salami (one spicy, one not), cheese, olives, peperonata (marinated sweet and sour peppers with pine nuts and raisins), garlicky eggplant slices, one square of something really tasty that was obviously made with eggs and cheese but I’m not sure what it’s called, and one square of something else (again, I have no idea what it’s called) that was layered with eggplant, tomato, cheese, and some other things.

Antipasto is always my favorite course!

Pasta and risotto

Primo (first course): Homemade pasta with ragu (meat sauce) and Risotto with porcini mushrooms. Both of these were excellent! The pasta with ragu was some of the best I’ve tasted and I’ve eaten a lot of ragu since I’ve been on this island! The risotto had just a hint of saffron and the porcini mushrooms (the only type of mushroom that I really like) were wonderful!

Main course

Secondo (second course): Grilled sausage, veal scallopine with porcini mushroom cream sauce, chicken involtini (thin chicken breast layered with cheese, bread crumbs and ham, rolled up, breaded with seasoned bread crumbs and fried), mixed salad. This was also really good. Justin thought this was the best sausage he’s had in Sicily and I think I have to agree. The veal was a little tough but the porcini cream sauce made up for it. The involtini was pretty standard but a little on the dry side. What was really surprising was that the salad had potatoes in it. In Sicily you’re generally lucky to find even a tomato in a mixed salad because ‘mixed’ could simply mean some lettuce mixed with radicchio. But this salad had lettuce, radicchio, tomato, carrot and potato. It was good.


Dolce (dessert): Apple Cake. For dessert we were served a slice of torta di mela (apple cake). It was ok, but a little dry. I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of many Italian cakes. But, I ate all of it πŸ˜‰


And, of course, the only way to end an Italian meal is with a shot of espresso!

I thought you might be interested to know what a typical Sicilian lunch might look like. In Italy, lunch is the most substantial meal of the day. Although most people don’t sit down to this type of meal every day anymore, it is still a must on the weekends.

Many restaurants will have a fixed price lunch like this where you just sit down and eat whatever they bring you. It’s my favorite way to dine in Sicily because you know that what you are eating is most likely fresh and local. In my experience, the normal price for this type of meal ranges between 20 and 25 euros.

The photos above show the lunch we had today in a restaurant in the small mountain town of Sant’Alfio. The town’s claim to fame is a giant Chestnut tree that is supposedly the largest tree and oldest tree in Europe. It is estimated to be between 3000 and 4000 years old.

Chestnut Tree

This is only one small part of the tree, it was difficult to get a shot that showed the immensity of it. But I liked this one with the couple standing under the umbrella.

We had quite a few adventures driving around Mount Etna today but I’ll have to tell you more about it tomorrow! We’ve been out all day and I still need to sort through the rest of my photos before I can tell you the rest of the story. I did, however, need to share something with you today in order to fulfill my NaBloPoMo commitment!

And just a quick reminder to cast a vote today for your Best Food Blog pick in the 2007 Weblog Awards. Remember, you can vote once every 24 hours until November 8th! If you haven’t done so already, you can go vote here.

  1. Justin

    This looks as good as it tasted!

    8:47 pm  Nov 4th, 2007
  2. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy

    Yum, pepperonata. πŸ™‚ The egg+cheese looks like frittata? I totally agree with the salad surprises – more than one color in a salad, it’s a “mista!”

    9:00 pm  Nov 4th, 2007
  3. cavoletto

    mumble… well, risotto isn’t much of tipically sicilian (risotto comes from northern italy), neither is that pasta shape really (it makes me more think of calabrian maccheroni), and I’d say the same for the sausage, the porcini cream sauce (cream sauce isn’t italian at all) and the chicken (sicilian involtini do exist, same shape but made of swordfish and filled with breadcrumbs, sultanas, pinenuts and a little cheese, and you can do the same thing with very thin veal scallops), and, the apple cake, naaaa (so you didn’t try cassata or cannoli? that’s really a pitty!!)….. (sorry, but, hey, now you know! πŸ˜‰

    9:19 pm  Nov 4th, 2007
  4. cavoletto

    oh, and also: the sweet and sour peperonata was probebly some kind of ‘caponata’, eggs + cheese indeed is frittata and the layered eggplant + tomato + cheese probebly was ‘parmigiana di melanzane’ πŸ™‚

    9:21 pm  Nov 4th, 2007
  5. Nicole

    Justin: Yeah, the photos turned out better than I expected!

    Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy: If it was frittata, it was much different than anything I’ve had before. It was very dense like bread.

    cavoletto: I guess I should be more careful with my post titles or the Northern Italians might come after me! I wasn’t saying that this food originated in Sicily. This just happened to be the lunch served at a restaurant we went to today. We were eating on Mount Etna where the mushroom rice dish is very typical of the area and made with local mushrooms. All restaurants on Etna serve mushroom dishes, and many of them include the mushroom risotto. The pasta was made in the restaurant, in Sicily, so whether or not the shape originated here, it was a local dish. The sausage was obviously fresh and local. The mushroom sauce, again, was typical of the area because of the local mushrooms. Although cream sauce is not extremely popular here, it is used. And yes, involtini di pesce spada are a Sicilian specialty (and very good) but they also serve involtini made with beef and chicken all over the island and all over Italy, I presume. The peperonta is like caponata as it is made with agrodolce. As for the apple cake, that is what the restaurant had made, not every Sicilian restaurant serves cassata and cannoli all the time. This restaurant didn’t have a menu, they were serving a fixed menu so we didn’t have a choice in any of the food (not that I would have changed any of it). But In the four years I’ve been here I’ve eaten my share of both! Again, I didn’t mean that this meal was made only of foods that originated in Sicily. It just happened to be a lunch we had at a restaurant today and was typical of food that is served in many restaurants in Sicily, especially up on Mount Etna.

    9:50 pm  Nov 4th, 2007
  6. C'tina

    Each photo was more inviting that the previous, but the last one I had to google http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chestnut_Tree_of_One_Hundred_Horses

    11:36 pm  Nov 4th, 2007
  7. Ruby

    Every dish looks as delicious as your adventures sound!
    Thanks! πŸ™‚

    3:41 am  Nov 5th, 2007
  8. Nicole

    C’tina: Thanks for the link, I’m going to add it to my post! For some reason I wasn’t able to find it when I searched πŸ™‚

    Ruby: Thanks πŸ™‚

    8:34 am  Nov 5th, 2007
  9. Ashley

    Antipasto is always my favorite course too! So much, that a lot of times I make that as the only course! πŸ™‚

    4:18 pm  Nov 5th, 2007
  10. Jason

    Thats what I had for lunch yesterday…

    No wait, I went to Togo’s and got a turkey cranberry sub.

    Thanks for making everybody jealous.

    5:31 pm  Nov 5th, 2007
  11. Corinne

    But Jason, remember our last lunch in sicily? Yum! Nicole, you took us to some great places during our visit. I still drool at the thought of some of the food!

    6:47 pm  Nov 5th, 2007
  12. Nicole

    Ashley: Haha, great idea!

    Jason: If it makes you feel any better, you would have hated the sausage because it had tons of your least favorite seasoning!

    Corinne: Where did we eat your last meal? I can’t remember! We did eat some good food though πŸ™‚ Usually the only time I eat out much here is when I have visitors! Going to that restaurant yesterday was unusual!

    7:01 pm  Nov 5th, 2007
  13. Alexandra


    10:25 pm  Nov 5th, 2007
  14. Marianna

    did you eat any cannoli in Sicily? Great post by the way!

    12:16 pm  Nov 6th, 2007
  15. The Nag

    Yum! This brings back memories of last April’s trip to Sicily. I’m still trying to get rid of the weight I gained there.

    1:29 pm  Nov 6th, 2007
  16. Nicole

    Alexandra: It sure was!

    Marianna: I eat cannoli all the time! Soooo good!

    The Nag: It’s really surprising but moving to Sicily actually helped me to lose weight. I lost about 35 pounds in the first year mostly because we weren’t eating fast food and actually weren’t eating out much at all. So, despite all the gelato, cannoli, pasta, and everything else I eat here, it’s still been a healthier lifestyle than I had in living in the states!

    1:54 pm  Nov 6th, 2007
  17. Dana

    Sigh, Italy. It’s almost impossible to get a bad meal there, isn’t it? Those photos have me drooling!

    8:24 pm  Nov 6th, 2007
  18. Sandra

    Cavoletto, you probably won’t believe it, but the shape of that pasta is very common and traditional in Sicily in the area of mount Etna and is called “casarecce”. Is hand made and used with every kind of tomato sauce, expecially with eggplants and tomato for the best known “Norma” (that, yes, is also made with spaghetti). Although it sounds strange the grilled sausage (it often hides a filling of cheese and tomatoes, or chili pepper) and the involtini is another typical food of the small villages on the Etna, where the meat is more eaten than the fish (swordfish’s involtini are common in the area of Messina, less of Catania e surroundings). As you know, the food of the cities located between the land and the sea is often in the balance….

    7:06 pm  Nov 13th, 2007
  19. no sense of place :: links for 2007-11-06

    […] A Typical Sicilian Lunch β€” Pinch My Salt Supersize (tags: food italy sicily) […]

    1:45 am  Nov 27th, 2007
  20. linda

    The Nag wrote: It’s really surprising but moving to Sicily actually helped me to lose weight. I lost about 35 pounds in the first year mostly because we weren’t eating fast food and actually weren’t eating out much at all. So, despite all the gelato, cannoli, pasta, and everything else I eat here, it’s still been a healthier lifestyle than I had in living in the states!
    1:54 pm Nov 6th, 2007

    I also live in Sicilia and cannot believe how fast I lost weight the first year too! I was never hungry or felt deprived- in fact I ate more! The key is that the food is all local, fresh and without additives. Even the flour you bake with can come from your local area .you do not seem to have the gluten problems and physical ailments that I believe are linked to over engineered junk we eat in the US. we do have some bigbox stores that sell that stuff but there is no need to shop for food in them( who would want to?). Everywhere you go there is fresh fruit and veg, local raised meat and even the local gelato is pretty healthy! Aslo inexpensive to eat right. Organic in the States is very costly- here it is jsut the norm. Love it here!

    12:36 am  Aug 30th, 2008
  21. CHACHA


    10:25 pm  Sep 29th, 2009
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