A dish typical of western Sicily and Northern Africa, couscous is prepared mainly in the Trapani area, where in the local dialect it is known as cuscusu. The durum wheat semolina is steamed in a special glazed terracotta pot and combined with different ingredients to obtain fish couscous or vegetable couscous. Because of its multicultural origins it is also celebrated as Peace Food.  

Pasta with Sardines

Another important Sicilian dish is pasta with sardines, from Palermo in origin and with multiple variations. The most classic recipe calls for long pasta (bucatini or macaroni) with fresh sardines, wild fennel, raisins, pine nuts, onion, saffron, oil, salt, and pepper.


With its dozens of varieties, Sicilian caponata is a dish full of Mediterranean flavors, sweet and sour, used both as a side dish and as a main dish accompanied by bread. The ingredients common to most recipes, which change according to local tradition, are: fried eggplant, tomato, capers, olives, celery, onion, salt, vinegar, and sugar. Caponata is the typical “poor dish” with a rich and tasty flavor, usually prepared in the summer months when the eggplant is ripe.

Pasta alla Norma

Typically Mediterranean in flavor, this is one of the most famous Sicilian dishes. It uses macaroni or other short pasta with tomato sauce, fried eggplant, salted ricotta, and basil. Originally from Catania, it owes its name to the comedy writer Nino Martoglio who compared it to the famous opera by Vincenzo Bellini.

Sicilian Pesto

Another savory preparation is Sicilian pesto, of which there are many variations. The variety from Trapani is one of the most famous and is made with tomato, basil, almonds and a touch of oil, without ricotta, which is instead one of the main ingredients in other versions of this dish.