Another month gone by and another Secret Recipe Club reveal day for Group C!
I always get excited when I get the email telling me whose blog I’ll be assigned to and then usually it’s followed by a good hour of falling down the rabbit hole, clicking on recipe after recipe I want to make.
This month was no exception. My assigned blog, Manu’s Menu, is an amazing resource of Italian recipes for the home cook from all different regions of Italy (not to mention Manuela cooks many things besides Italian cuisine – hello, Double Chocolate Whole Wheat Banana Bread!)
This was a match made in heaven being I’m part Italian. My grandfather’s parents are from Abruzzi. My sister lived in Florence and Rome for four years and I visited as much as I could. My honeymoon was a magical trip to Sicily and the Amalfi Coast.
So, it’s not shocking that Italian food is my comfort food, my go-to food, what I’m eating most of the week. So, it was truly hard it was to decide what to make from Manuela’s comprehensive recipe archives.
Now, Manuela currently lives in Australia but certainly is keeping her hometown roots alive and well with her delightful blog. I decided to make something from Sicily because that’s where she is from originally and the regional cuisine from this island is AMAZING.
Fresh seafood, olives, lemons, blood oranges, peppers, eggplant, raisins, pistachios, even couscous are staples because throughout history, Sicily was occupied by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs – a lot of different cultures that all brought their culinary influences to the island which makes the food so unique and SO DARN GOOD. One of my favorite dishes from the whole trip was pasta alla norma, which features eggplant, tomatoes, basil and ricotta salata cheese. Swoon.
In the end, I choose Manu’s Busiati with Pesto Trapanese and Fried Eggplant because I had eggplant on hand and it’s a traditional recipe from Trapani in western Sicily. Trapanese pesto features lots of garlic, basil, tomatoes and almonds instead of pine nuts. I skipped the homemade pasta step but will definitely be revisiting when I have more time.