Andrea Provenzani’s Sicily

The chef from Milan concentrated the flavours of Trinacria in a dish for Identità Cous Cous

Andrea Provenzani of Il Liberty in Milan will brin

Andrea Provenzani of Il Liberty in Milan will bring the dish that allowed him to win the preview of the Cous Cous Fest this year to the new Le Tavole di Identità Golose event, on Monday September 15th: Swordfish with onions and Marsala, couscous with saffron and raisins, pesto with wild fennel, pistachio and candied lemon, almond milk and aubergine ash

Andrea Provenzani lives and works in Milan, where he’s the chef and owner of Il Liberty. In this recipe, however, he explored his Sicilian roots, a heritage of his father, with a dish that is rich in ingredients and flavours that are strongly tied to the territory. His couscous is eloquently called "La mia Sicilia" [My Sicily] and it is made with Swordfish with onions and Marsala, couscous with saffron and raisins, pesto with wild fennel, pistachio and candied lemon, almond milk and aubergine ash.

Identità Cous Cous
will take place on Monday September 15th starting at 8 pm at Alice, Viviana Varese and Sandra Ciciriello’s restaurant on the second floor of Eataly Smeraldo, in Piazza XXV Aprile in Milan. To participate in the event: for info and reservations call Identità’s toll free number 800.825144 or Alice Ristorante +39.02.49497340, Set menu, including drinks, 40 euros.

For 120 mini-portions

4.5 kg clean swordfish
2.5 kg couscous
500 g sultanas
1.5 kg peeled almonds
2 aubergines

For the wild fennel pesto
6 bunches of wild fennel
3 bunches of basil
200 g de-salted capers
250 g anchovies preserved in oil
1 kg unsalted pistachios
150 g candied lemon
1 l di extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper and chilli pepper

For the stock
4 golden onions
4 celery sticks
1 garlic head
Black peppercorns
8 l water
15/20 g saffron pistils
50 g dried tomatoes
1 l aromatic white wine (better if a dry moscato)
Wild fennel stalks

For the onions with Marsala
10 golden onions
3 l dry Marsala
300 g sugar
Spices (cinnamon, mace, black peppercorns)

For the oil for the swordfish
1 l extra virgin olive oil
5 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 bunch of basil
1 bunch of wild fennel
50 g ginger


Prepare the stock for the couscous: cut the vegetables roughly, toast them with a drop of oil, add some white wine, let it evaporate then cover with water, add the aromatic herbs, the dried tomatoes and the seasonings, leave to boil for 40 minutes, turn off the flame and strain. Add the saffron.

Spread the couscous, not higher than half a centimetre, in a large baking tin, add the sultanas and cover with the boiling stock. If the couscous semolina is raw, instead, it will be necessary to work it over a flame, mixing it continuously, adding the stock until it has reached the desired cooking level, counting a ratio of around one to ten for the stock.

Prepare the wild fennel pesto, removing the leaves from the stalk, adding the pistachio, the candied lemon, salt, pepper and a little oil, chop it in the cutter, season with some salt and add oil.

For the Marsala sauce, cut the onions into strips and cover them with Marsala, sugar and spices, cook them for an hour on a low flame and finally season with salt.

Dice the swordfish and brown the cubes on a high flame on all sides, finish the cooking with the previously aromatised oil for three minutes without reaching frying temperature.

For the almond milk, lightly toast the roughly chopped peeled almonds, cover them with twice the weight of boiling water and boil for a few minutes. Cover and leave to rest for 8 hours, put back on the stove and strain with a sieve and a cotton napkin, in order to better squeeze it, adding a little salt.

Finally prepare the aubergine ash, cutting it into half a centimetre high slices, burn them in the oven for 2 hours at 160°C, blend them and sieve them so as to obtain a very thin and very aromatic ash.


Spread the couscous in the middle of a dish and press it into a ring, place the hot swordfish cut into halves on top, add the onions with Marsala and put a quenelle of pesto beside it. Finish at the table by pouring the almond milk almost to cover the couscous. For the final touch, add the ash right on top of the milk and then some salt flakes and extra virgin olive oil to finish.