Spaghetti Syracusan style
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Spaghetti Syracusan style

spaghetti Syracusan style, also known as Syracusan fried pasta, are a first course of pasta typical of Syracusan cuisine, widespread throughout Sicily

The recipe for this first course involves the use of blue fish called anchovy (anciova in Sicilian dialect): it should be fried with garlic and extra virgin olive oil, while the spaghetti is cooked separately in abundant salted water. Again individually, the dry bread crumbs (or ready-made breadcrumbs) are toasted in a pan. At the end, the pasta is mixed with the anchovies and sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs.

This dish lends itself to many variations and is sometimes confused with Syracusan sauce (due to the presence of anchovies), whose original recipe, however, is often served with short pasta and does not include the use of crumbs, but rather a generous dose of vegetables, capers and olives; these are foods that are not present in the traditional recipe of this dish, except, rarely, for the olives, which are black.

Not to be confused with the first course, especially from Palermo, called pasta with sardines: although tradition says it was born in the Syracuse area (but by Arab army cooks, encamped there to conquer the city), it is quite far from the culinary customs of the Arezzo area, contemplating ingredients such as raisins and pine nuts (a classic combination of Palermo cuisine), as well as saffron, and the fish that dominates the dish is sardine, not anchovy. The toasted breadcrumbs in the original pasta with sardines are not present.

 One of the most well-known variants of the Syracusan dish involves frying the spaghetti: either they are cooked fresh separately and then fried in a pan - before stirring them with the anchovies - or some leftover pasta is taken from the fridge and given in this new texture way.

Syracusan spaghetti in some recipes are also presented with tomato, both in their fried version and in the normal one. It is not uncommon to find chilli peppers as well (depending on the variant chosen), but always accompanied by the basic ingredients of the dish which remain anchovies and toasted breadcrumbs.

 Origins of the dish

This typical Syracusan dish has very ancient roots; archaic. The recipe that has now become part of the culinary tradition of the geographical area, at the beginning was presented in a very different way: the name of "Syracusan pasta" (which preceded that of today's spaghetti) was used to indicate a type of processing of durum wheat decidedly thinner, known as angel hair (also called capellini or more recently vermicelli); characterized precisely by a very fine thickness.

It is claimed that angel hair in Syracuse was already prepared at the time of the tyrant Dionysius I (in what was once the Greek colony of Ankón they continue to be prepared today and its inhabitants define this type of dish as a legacy of the ancient Syracusans ). Only later did the Arab conquerors take inspiration from it to give life to the first European trade in pasta, which historically started from Sicily.

Angel hair is actually a typical dish of Greece (called kataifi pasta) and the East. In the Syracusan area they, especially in the past, were rolled up and fried in lard and finally washed down with "hot black honey from the Iblei mountains".

It is said that when the Sicilian nobleman Don Francesco Bonanno, as well as war adviser to King Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy and Emperor Charles VI of Habsburg, had to make a difficult decision, he sat down at a table and always ordered his monsù a dish of "Syracusan fried pasta", because he considered it stimulating for the brain and therefore an advocate of excellent political advice.

At a certain point the ancient recipe was mixed with that of the dish that today is known as spaghetti Syracusana, for which the type of very fine pasta was replaced by thicker spaghetti; the use of honey has almost completely disappeared and fish and the dry crumbs of bread are added instead. But in the beginning it was the only simply honeyed angel hair that fed the Syracusans by giving them a vitamin dish (Text: wikipedia)

(Text source: wikipedia)

Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero

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Information contributions: Ignazio Caloggero Web, 

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