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Sicilian cuisine is the style of cooking on the island of "Sicily. It shows traces of all cultures that have existed on the island of Sicily over the last two millennia. Although its cuisine has a lot in common with "Italian cuisine, Sicilian food also has "Greek, "Spanish, "French and "Arab influences.
The Sicilian cook "Mithaecus, born during 5th century BC, is credited with having brought knowledge of Sicilian gastronomy to "Greece: his cookbook was the first in Greek, therefore he was the earliest cookbook author in any language whose name is known.
The use of "apricots, "sugar, "citrus, sweet "melons, "rice, "saffron, "raisins, "nutmeg, "clove, "pepper, "pine nuts, "cinnamon (along with fried preparations) is a sign of "Arab influences from the "Arab domination of Sicily in the 10th and 11th centuries.
"Normans and "Hohenstaufen influences are also found, such as in the fondness for "meat dishes. Later, the "Spanish introduced "numerous items from the New World, including "cocoa, "maize, "peppers, "turkey, and "tomatoes along with other "produce. In "Catania, on the east coast, initially "settled by Greek colonists, "fish, "olives, "broad beans, "pistachio and fresh vegetables are preferred instead. Much of the island's cuisine encourages the use of fresh vegetables such as "eggplant, "peppers, and tomatoes, and fish such as "tuna, "sea bream, "sea bass, "cuttlefish, and "swordfish. In "Trapani in the extreme western corner of the island, "North African influences are clear in the use of "couscous.
"Maccu is a Sicilian "soup and foodstuff prepared with "fava beans as a primary ingredient. It is a "peasant food and "staple food that dates back to "ancient history. Maccu di San Giuseppe ("English: maccu of St. Joseph) is a traditional Sicilian dish that consists of various ingredients and maccu. The dish may be prepared on "Saint Joseph's Day in Sicily, to clear out pantries and allow room for the spring's new crops of vegetables.
Sicily is the oldest Italian and Western location on record where "pasta was part of the local cuisine after being worked into long and thin forms, dating back to around the 12th century, as attested by the "Tabula Rogeriana of "Muhammad al-Idrisi, reporting some traditions about the "Sicilian kingdom.
Spaghetti ai ricci (spaghetti prepared with sea urchin) "Pasta con le sarde (with sardines) and "Pasta alla Norma (a specialty originated in Catania) are the most popular pasta dishes typically Sicilian. "Manicotti is another common dish.
After the pasta, the typical Sicilian menu includes a second or main dish (secondi) based on meat or fish. Main dishes based on seafood are "couscous al pesce and Pesce spada alla ghiotta (Swordfish).
Sweets are another specialty. Examples include: "frutta martorana, "Pignolata of Messina, "buccellato, "cannoli, "granita, "cassata siciliana and the "Crocetta of Caltanissetta, a sweet that disappeared and was rediscovered in 2014.
Candy in Sicily was heavily influenced by the Arab candymakers in the 9th century, and Sicilian candy has preserved more of that influence than almost any other place in Europe. Marzipan fruits may have been invented at the Convent of Eloise at Martorana in the 14th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries, many Sicilian monasteries produced candies and pastries, some with sexual or fertility themes. The only surviving convent to follow this tradition is the Monastery of the Virgins of Palermo, which makes breast-shaped cakes in honor of St "Agatha of Sicily.
Traditional sugar statues, called pupa di cena, are still made, although now featuring modern celebrities or culture figures.
Granita is particularly famous and well known. It is a semi-frozen dessert of sugar, water, and flavorings originally from the island, and is commonly associated with "Messina or "Catania, even though there is no evident proof that it hails from any particular Sicilian city. Related to "sorbet and "italian ice, in most of Sicily it has a coarser, more crystalline texture. Food writer "Jeffrey Steingarten says that "the desired texture seems to vary from city to city" on the island; on the west coast and in "Palermo, it is at its chunkiest, and in the east it is nearly as smooth as "sorbet. This is largely the result of different freezing techniques: the smoother types are produced in a "gelato machine, while the coarser varieties are frozen with only occasional agitation, then scraped or shaved to produce separated crystals.
Citrus fruits are a popular ingredient in Sicilian cuisine. Many were first introduced by the "Arabs from the 9th to 11th centuries, but some, such as the Washington navel from "Brazil, have been brought to the island more recently. Examples of citrus fruits found in Sicily are :
The drink most often served with the main meal in Sicily is "wine. The soil and climate in Sicily are ideal for "growing grapes, mainly due to "Mount Etna, and a wine-making tradition on the island has existed since the Greeks first set up colonies on the island. Today, all Sicilian provinces produce wine and Sicilian wine produced by modern methods has established itself on the European wine market.
Sicilian "red wines have an alcoholic content of 12.5 to 13.5% and are usually drunk in the evening with roast or grilled meat. Well-known red wines include the "Cerasuolo di Vittoria and the "Nero d'Avola, mainly those produced around Noto (Siracusa). The dry and "white wines and "rosés usually have an alcoholic content from 11.5 to 12.5% and are mainly consumed with fish, poultry and pasta dishes. Various "dessert wines are also produced, such as the famous "Marsala and the Malvasia delle Lipari.
Sicilians eat large quantities of street food, including the renowned "arancine (a form of "deep-fried rice "croquettes). Throughout the "Palermo region are found "pani ca meusa and pane con "panelle, while in the "Catania region Cartocciate and Cipolline are very popular, and finally in the "Messina region Focaccia messinese and Pitone messinese are common.