Sicilian Vegetable Pasta

by Rachel on August 5, 2013

Sicilian Vegetable Pasta

This is the second of three recipes from an outstanding cooking class my family and I took in Rome in the Spring of 2013. The class was arranged by an Italian travel company called One Step Closer. I read about the three women who run One Step Closer in a Wine Spectator article in 1999. The three are sisters whose mission it is to provide unusual, intimate experiences to discriminating travelers. We love Valentina Grossi from One Step Closer – she’s absolutely charming, bright and well connected. All of the adventures she arranged for us were exceptional. This particular class was taught in the private home of Violante Guerrieri Gonzaga. Violante is a gracious woman who warmly welcomed us into her small, but brightly lit kitchen perched on one of the upper floors of a remarkable Roman home. After a brief hello she took us up to her roof garden and set us loose with homemade appetizers and an aperitif – so that we could enjoy the view. One can see the tops of most of the major Roman buildings, including the Vatican from her glorious rooftop garden. Weeks before she’d watched the smoke switch from black to white announcing the new Pope, Pope Francis. Back in her kitchen we set to work to make this light, vegetarian, traditional Sicilian pasta dish.

Vegetables, prepped and ready.

Sicilian Vegetable Pasta (serves 6-8)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 white or yellow onions, diced
  • 2 large eggplants, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 large zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 large red peppers, diced
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 20 saffron threads
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup pitted nicoise or Kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped

My latter born cooks the vegetables.

Dissolve the saffron in the boiling water. Set aside.

The vegetables right before serving them over pasta.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onion. Stir for one minute. Add the zucchini, eggplant, red bell peppers, and chopped tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes. Add a small amount of finely ground black pepper, the red pepper flakes, the sugar, the saffron water and the white vinegar. Switch off the heat and add the raisins, pine nuts, and the olives. Serve over pasta. Sprinkle the flat leaf parsley over the top as a garnish.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura August 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm

What a beautiful dish! And all the way from Italy! Thanks for sharing it :)

Rachel August 15, 2013 at 11:43 am

You are more than welcome. It was an amazing class with a wonderful Roman woman up in her incredible apartment.


Linda August 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I made this on Friday. It was fabulous! Many, many thanks for this wonderful recipe – I’ll surely make this many times more. Thanks for the photos, too, because they helped a lot. Now I just have to figure out how to have this blog sent to me, although I have already put it in my “Favorites”.

Rachel August 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm

If you “follow” me on Facebook you’ll get notices of when there are new posts. You can click the link on the main page on the blog. Or, you can follow me on twitter – otherwise you just have to check back. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe and I’m glad that the photos helped. That kitchen had the most glorious light which made it really easy to take photographs.

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