Pasta di San Giuseppe - a (quick and easy) Sicilian recipe

From Trapani to Syracuse, the local pasta dishes all stem from regional traditions. And each region likes to outdo his neighbours with the most different or original recipes. Whether the Busiati with «agghia pistata» to pasta alla norma, up to the lesser known but no less scrumptious Annaletti al forno (Baked Annaletti), Minestra die fagioli e zucchine (bean and courgette soup) or the pasta di San Giuseppe, a divine pasta dish with a vegetable sauce and a "secret ingredient".  It is a pasta dish with fried breadcrumbs, and is usually served as a first course on Father's and St. Joseph's Day, March 19th.


200 g shelled almonds (with the inner skin), 100 g coarse-grained stale bread crumbs, 200 g orange blossom honey, 320 g spaghetti, two teaspoons of cinnamon, untreated orange peel, salt to taste.


Prepare the dressing by pounding the almonds in a mortar without pulverizing them. In a non-stick pan, toast the breadcrumbs and almond crumbs, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent them from burning. Keep aside. Cut the orange zest into thin strips and place it on a baking tray. Bake at a temperature of 100 ° and leave to dry. When the peels are well toasted, grind them finely. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water and, in the meantime, melt the honey in a pan over a very low heat. Drain the spaghetti al dente and pass them into the pan, stirring with the fluid honey. Then add the toasted almonds and breadcrumbs, cinnamon and powdered orange peel, mixing well. And here the genius of Sicilian cuisine is best expressed: served hot - this is a scrumptious first course or if served cold, at room temperature, it becomes a dessert. 

Interesting Insight

The "Pasta ai meli" is a typical recipe from Butera, in the province of Caltanissetta, and is prepared to celebrate the feast of St. Joseph. Although the origins are not known, there is a clear Arab reminiscence in the use of honey, seeds and cinnamon. But in this case, the recipe serves as a reminder that May 20 is International Bee Day: a day called by the United Nations to remember the importance of pollinating insects and protect those species that maintain plant biodiversity by allowing the reproduction of many plants and of numerous food crops.

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