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Lisa Caponigri, author of This is Sunday dinner


Pasta alla Carrettiere

  • 6 cups chopped fresh grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 20 basil leaves, chopped
  • 12 mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Sicilian sea salt, fine
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds spaghettoni (if you cannot find this thick spaghetti, use bucatini)
  • Handful of coarse Sicilian sea salt for the pasta water
  • 2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated


1. In a pasta bowl, large enough to hold 2 pounds of spaghetti, place the chopped tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, mint, and salt and pepper. Let the mixture sit for a minimum of 1–2 hours.


2. Bring a large pasta pot, filled with water, to a boil, and add a handful of coarse Sicilian sea salt. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta and place it in the big bowl with the tomato mixture. Toss the pasta in the sauce very well, and then top it with the cheese.


Zucchini Marinati alla Siciliana

Marinated Zucchini, Sicilian Style

  • 2 pounds zucchini
  • Handful Sicilian sea salt, coarse,
  • for prepping the zucchini
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Sicilian sea salt, fine
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 8 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 8 tablespoons fresh flat leaf Italian
  • parsley leaves, chopped


1. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1/3-inchthick slices. Place the zucchini slices in a colander and sprinkle them with the coarse sea salt. Set the colander aside and allow the zucchini to drain for 2 hours.


2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Place the drained zucchini slices in the pan and cook them gently until they’re brown on both sides, 3–4 minutes per side. Do not let the zucchini slices burn. Set them aside.


3. In another large saucepan, bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil over high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and the finely ground sea salt. Let the mixture cool.


4. Place the zucchini slices flat in a shallow bowl with the garlic slices, basil, and parsley scattered throughout. Pour the vinegar mixture over the zucchini slices and let the mixture marinate, covered, for at least 2 hours before serving.


Pere Affogate in Marsala

Poached Pears in Marsala

  • 8 firm pears, such as Bosc or d’Anjou
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup Marsala wine, preferably imported (my favorite brand is Florio)


1. Peel the pears, leaving the stems on top of the pears intact. Cut off the bottom of each pear so that it can stand up. Using an apple corer or a paring knife, core the pear from the bottom. Place the pears, standing up, in the bottom of a large 6- to 8-quart pot. Fill the pot with water all the way up to the stem of the pears, and add the 2 kinds of sugar, the cinnamon sticks, and the ground cloves.


2. Boil the water for 30 minutes over medium heat. Do not allow the water to come to a rolling boil, as this will make the pears lose  their shape and fall apart. With a slotted serving spoon, place the pears on a platter. Boil the remaining liquid until it reduces and becomes thick, 5–8 minutes. Stir in the Marsala wine and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour this mixture over the pears. These are excellent served warm or at room temperature.​