I met Aussie Michele Di’Bartolo while she was working as a lawyer in the media world in London. With a Sicilian background it was only natural that she has a passion for food. After spending time in both Sicily and London, she returned to Australia where she continues to work as a lawyer but she has also published The Sicilian Kitchen, a delicious read about life in Sicily lavishly embellished with scrumptious Italian recipes.
When I asked Michele which recipe I should include (there were so many good ones) she said that it was best to start from the beginning – so that is exactly what we are going to do!
The beginning – Sarsa semplice
“This is where you start. This is the core of Sicilian food, and from this fundamental sauce the soul of Sicilian cooking radiates. Apart from the lemon, no ingredient is more prized to the Sicilian then the tomato. Serve with the pasta of your choice and grated parmesan or pecorino pepato.”
Olive oil for cooking
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
½ white or brown onion, finely diced
4-5 fresh basil leaves
¼ cup fresh or frozen peas
2 x 400g cans peeled tomatoes (or passata)
Salt and pepper
Heat some olive oil in a large pan, the add the garlic and onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add half the basil leaves and all of the frozen peas and cook for about a minute. Pass the tomatoes through a moulin legume or crush, then add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste then simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a couple of fresh basil leaves towards the end.
Click to buy The Sicilian Kitchen