Winter in Sicily/2

From Scicli to Corrado Assenza’s Caffè Sicilia in Noto. Good food and unique people

Broad bean macco and ricotta quenelle, courgette f

Broad bean macco and ricotta quenelle, courgette flowers, wild fennel and fried calamari at restaurant Satra in Scicli (Ragusa), chef Rita Russotto, tel. +39.0932.842148

see part one

On Friday it was the turn of Satra. A half-hidden though very central alley and a lovely place, in the historic centre of Scicli, a short walk from the church of San Giovanni and the town hall (with its Montalbano-staircase). Here too, the usual typically Sicilian ingredients: kindness, accessibility, hospitality, raw materials, passion. A modern cuisine though respectful of tradition, a moderate yet sufficient wine list. Here we are, then, remembering the perfumed Broad bean macco with ricotta quenelle, courgette flowers, wild fennel and fried calamari, the Crispy egg with caciocavallo cheese, Nebrodi black pig cheek, mint sauce, tomato purée, potatoes and basil (a little less convincing), the Ricotta “ammaccata” ravioli and fried calamari, the Squid filled with bread, artichokes and spinach, the Breaded lampuga (dorado) with pumpkin “a stimpirata”, lippia polystachya and fried “caturro”.

Insalata assoluta (Absolute salad)at Caffè Sicilia in Noto (Siracusa) by Corrado Assenza: tomato sorbet filled with shallot ice-cream (photo credits Passione Gourmet)

Insalata assoluta (Absolute salad)at Caffè Sicilia in Noto (Siracusa) by Corrado Assenza: tomato sorbet filled with shallot ice-cream (photo credits Passione Gourmet)

On Saturday we visited the magical Noto, with Corrado Assenza and an aperitif at Caffè Sicilia, a pre-planned aperitif, a long and abundant one (booked one week earlier, though, as this is pastry-making of the highest quality) so much so that it was transformed into a true lunch. After doing the grocery shopping for us (eight) especially, Corrado prepared a series of samples in which we found lentils, broad beans and borage, sheep and cow ricotta, cauliflower and pasta, prawns and saffron and almond, anchovies, oranges and wild fennel, mussels, potatoes, frittata, artichokes and pecorino, in a delicate festival of flavours, with the aromas and flavours of both the countryside and the sea, though based on simplicity, love, lightness. All this was matched with a Sicilian brut sparkling wine produced by Mozo and finished with a Sicilian cassatina, an authentic, unreachable masterpiece of goodness, lightness and elegance.

The last breakfast in Scicli, at Hotel Novecento (carob honey and Sicilian cheeses, fresh orange juice and candied orange zest, home made cakes and good bread) was as usual a full tank of energy and friendship, of kindness and availability on behalf of the owner (Donatella, a lady from Padua who – following her heart – has been living in this lovely little town for the past 35 years) as well as of the staff. This is what helped us in making less painful the farewell (a goodbye, God willing) from this fantastic land.

Hotel Novecento in Scicli (Ragusa)

Hotel Novecento in Scicli (Ragusa)

We returned home full of faces and flavours, a magical circle that has led us to discover that Rita Russotto (the chef at Satra) is Ciccio Sultano’s ex-wife; that the current partner of the great double-starred chef in Ragusa, Gabriella (the excellent coordinator of the dining room hospitality) is the sister of the previously mentioned Antonio (the chef at Consiglio di Sicilia). The latter Antonio is a partner in the motorbike adventures of the very fun guy who will pamper you in the morning, in the breakfast room of hotel Novecento; and, finally, the spectacular succulent plant that stands out when leaving Consiglio di Sicilia was planted ten years ago by the above mentioned lady from Padua who, just after getting married, used to live in the same building. What a serendipitous journey!

2. the end



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