Traditional Recipes For the St. Joseph's Table

PASTA CON SARDE (Pasta with Sardines and Fennel)

1 large can of tomato puree
1 12 oz. can of tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of water
1 large can of sarde mix

Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil. Add tomato paste, tomato puree and 1 cup of water. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the can of tomato sauce and the sarde mix, simmer for another 30 minutes. Serve over pasta.

Optional: you can add canned or fresh sardines to the sauce as well as a ½ cup of finely chopped fennel.

Serve with MOLLICA: Toast good quality bread in the oven until dry. Roll between two pieces of waxed paper; sieve through a strainer. Roll again until fine. (alternate: use a blender/food processor or buy good quality crumbs and process until fine). Brown in a heavy, dry frying pan stirring constantly or brown in a heavy pan in the oven. Add a small amount of sugar.

FRITTATAS OR FROCIAS (Omelets) The difference in the name of the dish seems to be regional- frittatas in the north around Palermo and frocias in the south around Agrigento.

1 lb. of a vegetable (asparagus, green beans, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli) steamed or precooked until tender
¼ cup of olive oil
½ dozen eggs
¼ cup of grated Romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet and add vegetables. Cook at a low heat until warmed through. Beat the eggs and cheese together and pour over the vegetable. Cook slowly, occasionally lifting the edges of the frittata and tilting the pan to allow the egg to run under, until nearly set. Place a platter over the pan, turn upside down and then slide the frittata back onto the pan to brown the bottom side. Add salt and pepper to taste.

VERDURE ALLA PASTELLA (Vegetables in Batter)

Pastella- batter

10 tablespoons bleached flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons room temperature water
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
2 scant tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. vegetables-zucchini, artichokes,parboiled cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus cut into bit-sized pieces. note: soaked baccalà (cod) can also be used

corn oil enough to deep fry

To make pastella: In a bowl, mix the flour with the baking soda and salt. Mix the water, lemon juice and olive oil, and add to the flour mixture. Beat with a whisk until smooth.

In a skillet, heat a 1-inch layer of corn oil until it barely smokes.

Coat some of the vegetables with the pastella. Fry it on high heat until golden brown. Do not crowd in the oil. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the vegetables are cooked


4 artichokes
½ small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cut off the stalks and the tips of the artichokes and remove some of the tough outer leaves. Spread the remaining leaves open. Mix the onion, garlic, parsley, cheese, bread crumbs and salt and pepper. Moisten with the 1/4 cup olive oil and the 2 tablespoons of water. Fill each leaf with a tiny bit of this mixture. Fill the center of each artichoke with the mixture also.

Place the artichokes is a baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil. Pour a little water in the bottom of the dish. Bake in a slow oven (325 F) for 45 minutes or until the bottoms are soft to the fork.




6 eggs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon orange flavoring
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon butter
3 cups flour
3 cups peanut oil
½ cup powdered sugar

Beat the eggs lightly; add the granulated sugar, salt and flavoring; blend thoroughly.

Place flour on a board; cut in butter; add egg mixture. Knead until a smooth ball is obtained. If dough is too soft, gradually add a little flour to make it firm but not hard. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Cut dough into four sections. Roll on well-floured board until wafer thin. (If you have a pasta machine, run the dough through the two finest roller settings.) Cut with a pastry cutter or a sharp knife into 6 x 3/4 inch strips. Tie into a knot. Fry about 3 minutes or until light brown in hot peanut oil. Drain on paper towels; cool; sprinkle with powdered sugar.

SFINGE (Makes 1½ to 2 dozen.)

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
4 cups cooking oil
powdered sugar

Sift flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg together. Beat together eggs, sugar, vegetable oil and milk until smooth and then blend into the flour mixture. Cover with a cloth and let stand for about 15 minutes.

Heat the cooking oil to 375 F in a deep sauce pan or fryer. Drop in the batter a tablespoon at a time. Do not overcrowd. Cook until golden brown (about 5 minutes). Take out and drain on paper towels. Cool on rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

SFINGE DI SAN GIUSEPPE (St. Joseph's Cream puffs) Makes approximately 18 cream puffs.

1/4 lb. butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1 cup water
18 maraschino cherries
4 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/2 cup glazed orange peel

Place water and butter in saucepan; bring to a boil. Add flour and salt; keep stirring until mixture leaves sides of pan or forms a ball in the center. Remove from stove and cool. Add eggs one at a time, beating each thoroughly. Add sugar. orange and lemon rind; mix well. Drop by tablespoon on cookie pan, placing puffs about 3 " apart or put in muffin tins.

Heat oven to 400 F and bake 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake about 1/2 hour or until light brown. Remove from oven. Open puffs immediately to allow steam to escape. (Puffs should be opened through center top). Cool; fill with the ricotta filling: top with a cherry and two thin slice of glazed orange peel.

Ricotta Filling:

1 lb. ricotta
2 tablespoons grated chocolate
1 tablespoon orange rind
sugar to taste
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons almond extract

Blend all ingredients thoroughly. Use milk sparingly, and only if need to make smooth custard-like mixture. Put in refrigerator until used.

STRUFOLI-PIGNOLATA (Pine nut clusters)

2 eggs
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups peanut oil
½ cup sugar
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon colored confetti candy

Place one cup of flour on a board; break in eggs; add salt; knead together gently. Gradually add enough flour to make a medium-soft, easily molded dough. Texture becomes soft with kneading. When very smooth cut in half.

Roll out dough in a circular piece about 1/4" thick on a lightly floured board. Cut into strips about 1/4" wide. Mold each strip gently to resemble a small rope about 10" long. Cut into tiny pieces about 1/4" long. Each bit of dough resembles a grape or small marble. Distribute on a lightly floured board to prevent sticking.

Heat oil in deep sauce pan. When very hot, gradually add small pieces (about 6 tablespoonful at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Brown lightly for 1-2 minutes. Remove with a perforated spoon and drain on paper towels.

Blend the sugar and honey in a large, deep skillet stirring constantly for about 5 minutes over a low flame. When very smooth, add all the browned pieces, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon. When covered with the honey mixture, remove quickly; place on two large platters. Mold with a spoon into desired forms (as bunches of grapes or small clusters). Top each form with pine nuts; sprinkle with the confetti candy. Allow to cool. Serve by breaking off individual pieces with a fork. The pignolata keeps fresh for two weeks in a cake box.