13 Sicilian sauces that can be made quickly and easily
“There is no better smell than fresh tomato sauce with basil. It tastes of home, of happiness, of sharing”.
Yes. That may be true, but in addition to tomato sauce for dressing pasta, there are many sauces to accompany pasta dishes, meat and fish dishes, and salads. And there are so many Sicilian sauces to add even more flavor to traditional dishes and give a sweet or sour note to the dish.
The sauce, for some dishes, is like the icing on the cake! It gives personality to the dish, accompanies the taste, creates new sensory experiences, but the important thing is to match them with the right flavors and ingredients.
Preparing a Sicilian sauce is not a difficult task, in fact it only takes a few minutes to bring to the table a sauce that matches the dishes you have decided to prepare for your guests.
Today we want to take you on a discovery of 13 tasty Sicilian sauces, from the best known, such as the Sicilian ragout of chopped and peas, to the most original and surprising, such as cipollata, to flavor a meat or fish dish or to accompany a tasty aperitif or dessert. Plus, we’ll reveal how to match each Sicilian sauce to the right dish!
Salsa alla palermitana (Palermo-style tomato sauce)
Let’s start with one of the most popular Sicilian sauces on the island and also among the easiest to prepare, Palermo-style tomato sauce. Tasty, fragrant, delicious and nutritious, tomato sauce originated in Palermo but is one of the main condiments in Sicilian cuisine and, depending on the place, there are different variations of it.
The one we propose, however, is the traditional recipe made with ripe tomatoes, onion, olive oil, basil, a little sugar and a pinch of salt.
The dish to pair it with? Easy! Palermo-style tomato sauce is perfect for pasta cà sarsa e mulinciane fritte (pasta with sauce and fried eggplant).
The sour flavor of the tomato pairs perfectly with the aromatic taste of basil making this sauce just extraordinary!
Picchi pacchi sauce
The name will make you smile, but its taste even more so! Picchi pacchi sauce, with its somewhat funny name, is typical of the province of Palermo and widespread throughout western Sicily.
The basic ingredient of picchi pacchi sauce is tomato, and we can say that it is a versatile type of sauce, which lends itself to many uses: either to season dry pasta or to enrich vegetable soups.
Picchi pacchi sauce, for example, is the sauce used to prepare sautéed pasta coi tenerumi (pasta with tenderloins) and gives even more flavor to the dish. But this sauce is also used to prepare another typical dish from Palermo, namely babbaluci a picchi pacchi (snails in tomato sauce).
The ingredients to prepare it? Fresh tomato peel, garlic, olive oil. And then, put it on and season it as you like, the result will always be amazing!
Salsa agrodolce alla siciliana (Sicilian-style sweet and sour sauce)
Sicilian-style sweet and sour sauce is a delicious and refined sauce that is very easy and quick to make, ideal especially for accompanying meat, fish and fried vegetable dishes.
Sicilian-style sweet and sour sauce is a very tasty and savory condiment from the Sicilian gastronomic tradition based on vinegar and sugar, a preparation strongly linked to the island of Sicily, where the contrast of flavors is often the main element of many recipes. Truly delicious, perfect for any occasion and, above all, perfect for surprising young and old alike!
Pesto alla siciliana (Sicilian-style pesto)
For lovers of Sicilian flavors, this is a recipe to prepare and enjoy at least once in a lifetime. Pesto alla siciliana is a flavorful sauce with a unique aroma, perfect for dressing pasta or spreading on bread, but also to accompany vegetable dishes.
Although there is no single recipe for Sicilian-style pesto, there are some must-have ingredients that follow tradition, such as basil, tomatoes (preferably, Pachino), garlic, almonds, and ricotta cheese. Ricotta, for example, can be replaced with pecorino cheese for those who want a stronger taste.
Sicilian-style pesto is very simple to prepare, but brings to the table a taste that can hardly be forgotten.
Salsa di San Bernardo (St. Bernard Sauce)
Okay, take notes and mark this sauce in your planner or on your smartphone! San Bernardo sauce is one of the traditional Sicilian condiments that will first make you squint and then fall in love with Sicilian cuisine. It is a very old condiment with a decidedly special and unusual flavor: yes, the traditional recipe calls for dark chocolate!
According to legend, San Bernardo sauce was born in the Convent of San Bernardo in Catania. The story goes that a prince had lost his appetite and therefore went alone to a monastery. There, he had received the miraculous recipe. Back at court, however, although he followed the recipe, what the cooks prepared for him did not bring back his appetite.
So he had returned to the monks. The doses were right, but they added a phrase to the recipe they had given him, “Walk every day as much as you can and earn by working the food you eat“. Magically his appetite returned!
The ingredients for this recipe mix sour, sweet and salty. Usually, this sauce is used to season boiled meat, artichokes and boiled potatoes, or steamed vegetables and low-fat meats. It is used in the preparation of dishes with anchovies and vinegar, to dampen their overly salty taste.
This is because we find on the one hand basic elements of confectionery preparations such as dark chocolate, orange juice and sugar might be.
Ragù alla siciliana (Ragout of chopped meat and peas Sicilian style)
There is no home in Sicily where a Sicilian-style ragout of chopped meat and peas is not prepared. There is also a vegetarian version of this ragout, which replaces the meat with nuts or other dried fruit.
Sicilian-style mince and pea ragout is a very tasty traditional sauce, perfect for dressing fresh pasta, stuffing homemade ravioli or preparing a tasty dish of baked anelletti.
This sauce is very easy to prepare, just sauté chopped meat and peas and then add tomato sauce. Ah, of course, the minced meat and peas sauce is also the topping for some of the staples of Sicilian rotisserie such as arancine, iris and ravazzate!
Trapanese Salamoreci or Salamureci
Trapanese Salamoreci or Salamureci is an ancient peasant summer soup typical of the Trapanese area. A soup that should be served cold, accompanied by a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and grated Sicilian pecorino cheese.
Salamureci is a poor man’s traditional dish, typical of the province of Trapani. Prepared with very few ingredients such as bread, tomato, mint and basil it yields a tasty, aromatic and very thick sauce.
It is an Ideal soup for the Sicilian summer season because it should be served cold. This dish can be prepared to delight the palate of friends and relatives as part of a rustic meal based on traditional Sicilian dishes.
A word of advice? Make a lot of it, because it is so good that it finishes quickly!
Patè di pomodori secchi (sun-dried tomato pate)
Sun-dried tomato pâté is an overpowering and tasty condiment, great for flavoring sauces and gravies or for spreading on freshly baked bread to serve as a tasty and savory appetizer.
Sicilian sun-dried tomato pâté or Patè di pomodori secchi is usually prepared with garlic, basil and capers. Genuine ingredients that are inevitable in Sicilian cuisine. This is a quick and easy recipe that combines the sweet flavor of tomatoes with the salty flavor of capers and the strong and intense flavor of garlic, creating a perfect recipe to bring to the table for a meal with your loved ones.
Dried tomato pate is ideal on crostini, sandwiches and homemade bread, to be paired with Sicilian cured meats and cheeses, or to dress pasta and side dishes.
Patè di olive (Olive pate)
We cannot forget about Sicilian olives. Whether they are green or black, olives are so good that it is impossible to give them up. Olive pate is, therefore, a must in traditional Sicilian cuisine.
Perfect for enriching the flavor of dishes and serving a fresh and tasty appetizer, olive pâté is used to flavor vegetables or greens, to dress a salad or to accompany fresh cheeses, but most of all it is spread on homemade bread toasted over the embers. A real treat!
Sicilian black or green olives, olive oil, garlic, oregano, a little vinegar and, if you want, a little chili pepper are the perfect ingredients for a Sicilian olive pate that will give unique emotions. A pate that is healthy, good and easy to prepare!
Patè di capperi di Pantelleria (Pantelleria capers pate)
In this review of the tastiest traditional Sicilian sauces and pates, Pantelleria capers cannot be missing. Pantelleria capers pate is a truly delicious sauce, even for those who do not like the taste of capers, and is ideal for seasoning numerous meat and fish preparations. But that’s not all!
Capers, strictly from Pantelleria, are ideal for preparing this delicious recipe with a Sicilian soul and a volcanic nature. Literally.
The Pantelleria soil, in fact, gives capers a special aroma that no other caper produced elsewhere in the world can replicate.
Capers pate is perfect for flavoring fish or meat tartare, as well as tomato sauces, croutons and hot bread. Try it to believe!
Agliata or agghiata (Garlic sauce)
Well, garlic is undoubtedly one of the most important ingredients in the preparation of traditional Sicilian dishes. But have you ever heard of Sicilian agliata or agghiata? Don’t worry, as soon as you discover this recipe, it will become your most faithful companion of fish eats!
This sauce, used in the past by fishermen to preserve food longer while traveling, is a delicious and flavorful condiment that gives freshness and flavor to dishes.
Along with parsley, mint, white wine vinegar, and olive oil, agliata (in Sicilian dialect agghiata) is, along with salmoriglio, one of the most widely used sauces in Sicilian cuisine, especially in the summertime to season fresh fish dishes, but it is also a suitable condiment for seasoning meat and fried vegetables.
Cipollata or cipuddata (Onion sauce)
If garlic is one of the main ingredients in Sicilian cuisine, its most feared competitor is undoubtedly the onion!
Cipollata, prepared mainly with red onions, is a traditional poor but very tasty condiment used to accompany meat and fish dishes as well as boiled vegetables. But that’s not all, cipollata is also used to stuff sandwiches with sausage and bacon, such as the one served at the Festival of Madonite Flavors in Petralia.
There are several versions of cipollata and, of course, we are talking about the traditional Sicilian cipollata recipe.
Cipollata (cipuddata in Sicilian dialect) is a fairly simple and quick recipe. All you need are onions, preferably red, white wine vinegar and a little sugar. The important thing is to cook the onions well to get a velvety texture and an enveloping flavor.
The salmoriglio or sammurigghiu
Make way for the King of Sicilian cold sauces: salmoriglio or sammurigghiu! Yes, salmoriglio is one of the most well-known and beloved sauces. It is prepared in less than a minute and is used to season and give flavor to roasted fish and meat dishes.
Grilled fish or meat? Well, there goes the salmoriglio, without a doubt! Salmoriglio, like agghiata, is a sauce that goes great with grilled fish, especially fish seasoned with added breadcrumbs and pecorino cheese.
There are two versions of this sauce: one calls for finely chopped parsley (ideal for seasoning freshly grilled fish) while the other does not call for parsley (perfect for seasoning roasted meat).
Ready to make all your Sicilian dishes explode with flavor? Let’s do it!