Sicilian method of cooking pasta in the same water that the vegetables are cooked in

Food and recipes bring people together.

I have relatives who live in Sicily.  My cousins who are still living have sons and daughters who are in their 40’s and 60’s. These younger cousins (even if they are in their 40’s and 60’s)  use the internet and read the recipes that I publish on my blog. Some of them sometimes contact me through Facebook and  sometimes they suggest variations to particular recipes. I very much appreciate this.

Below are two comments made recently about cooking pasta in the same water that the leafy, winter, green vegetable (called Cime di Rape or Broccoli Rape) have been cooked in. on this occasion Valentina and Stefania contacted me.

Valentina lives in Augusta and is from my mother’s side of the family. Stefania, from my father’s side of the family lives in Ragusa. These young women have never met, but they now know each other through the recipes on my blog.

IMG_3319

Here are the variations they have suggested:

Valentina

Marisa ti do la mia ricetta. Si fanno bollire le cimette ben pulite e si scolano, nell’acqua di cottura si fa cuocere la pasta (di solito orecchiette), nel frattempo si fa rosolare in olio extra vergine d’oliva un paio d ‘acciughe dissalate e le cimette e si fanno saltare in padella x qualche minuto …poi si unisce la pasta et voile’ la pasta è fatta!

Boil the Cime di Rape in the same water that you will cook the pasta (usually orecchiette).

Add the cleaned vegetables to salted boiling water, cook and drain them. Return the vegetable water to the saucepan and use it to cook the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking and the vegetables are draining, heat some extra virgin olive oil in a frypan (large enough to hold the vegetables and the pasta).

Add a couple of finely chopped anchovies, then the green vegetables and sauté them for a few minutes. Add the drained pasta and the pasta is ready.

 

cimeblogcrop_005

 

Stefania

Oltre alle acciughe (una ogni due persone, se sono grandi) aggiungi spicchi di aglio , peperoncino rosso. Salta la pasta e se vuoi aggiungi pan grattato.

As well as the anchovies (one between two people if they are big ones), add cloves of garlic and red chillies to the hot oil. Add the green vegetables and the cooked pasta (and sauté them for a few minutes to mix the flavours).

Serve the pasta with fried breadcrumbs (that have been toasted in a frypan in a little extra virgin olive oil).

Both Valentina and Stefania cook the pasta in the same water that the vegetables have been cooked in. The same is done when cooking pasta with kohlrabi or cauliflower or broccoli and although I am familiar with this traditional Sicilian method, I prefer to sauté my vegetables raw rather than boiling them (to preserve vitamins and crunch).

Pasta con the sarde or Pasta con la mollica are the only two recipes where I always cook the wild fennel in the water that will be re-used to cook the pasta. It flavours the pasta and also tints it a shade of green.

Both of these pasta dishes are also presented with fried breadcrumbs.

IMG_1642

For recipes see:

Pasta con Le Sarde (Pasta with Sardines, From Palermo, Made with Fennel, Pine Nuts and Currants)

Pasta with Breadcrumbs, Anchovies and Fennel (Pasta Cca Muddica)

Kohlrabi with Pasta – A Wet Dish (Causunnedda Che Cavuli )

Edible Weeds: Orecchiette e Broccoletti Selvatici (and Cime di Rape)

Cime di Rape (a Winter Green)

One of My Favourite Vegetables – Cime di Rape

The bunch of green vegetables in the front are Cime di Rape.

Vegies+first+up

6 thoughts on “Sicilian method of cooking pasta in the same water that the vegetables are cooked in”

  1. I agree with you, if I can roast, bake, saute I will do it rather than boil. My mamma had a tendency to overcook broccoli and spinach but that was to their taste. When I had my own home I sauteed or roasted the vegetables. The recipes that the ladies sent really sound delicious — I’m sure they are very flavorful. I have come quite a few recipes with the broccoli and pasta in the same water. Usually they will start the pasta and right toward the end toss in the broccoli flowerettes. I’ve never made it.

    1. We are a different generation and living in a different land. Our relatives tend to cook as they have always done.
      I used to have an English mother in law and she cooked all of her green vegetables with bi-carb to preserve the green colour. Too bad about the loss of vitamins!

  2. Marisa,

    I have been subscribing to your blog and truly appreciate your posts. For me, your story just got more intriguing (!) as my mother’s family are all from Augusta, Sicily. I have a cousins there and have visited. I am originally from Boston, USA where there is a large population of Sicilians from Augusta.

    1. How interesting!
      I was in Augusta last year and the place is looking good, especially by the water. My mother’s brother was a naval officer and he met his wife in Augusta and settled there because of his work and her.

      1. That’s great Marisa. My Great Grandfather was a Steward in the Italian Navy. The Navy now are rescuing waves of migrants arriving by boat from Africa. My cousin works with his church to receive them. He is in this video.

Leave a Reply