Anne's Blog

Spaghetti con Patate: La Cucina Povera of Sicily

Date: May 21, 2020 - categories: , , - 1 Comment

As always, cooking proves a pleasant distraction during this COVID-19 lockdown. Today’s easy, tasty recipe is dedicated to Pino’s wonderful mamma, Signora Vincenza (in the photo below with our Giulia, 1995)….

…..as I first tasted this dish in her Palermo kitchen. Her tasty spaghetti con patate showcases Italy’s traditional cooking, la cucina povera.

La cucina povera (literally, “poor cooking”) is actually a rich cuisine: rich in culinary traditions and culinary history. But ingredients used are simple, directly from the land, what you have on hand – and if purchased, very economical in price.

Here’s all you’ll need for Spaghetti con Patate:

  • spaghetti (a handful per person)
  • 3 or 4 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • small bunch of parsely
  • freshly-grated cheese, parmigiano or pecorino, q.b. (“quanta basta” or “as much as you need)
  • extra-virgin (only!) olive oil, q.b
  • salt, pepper, q.b.

To start, I headed outside to pick some parsley….

….and after washing the parsley, I sliced it and then diced it (using our beloved mezzaluna):

Next step? Wash and peel potatoes, setting aside in cold water. Cut each potato into small cubes:

Put water onto boil for the cooking (slightly) of the potato cubes and cover the bottom of another saucepan with olive oil, for the sauteeing of the diced onion and diced garlic cloves:

When the onion and garlic are golden (do not burn!), set aside for the potato cubes.

Add salt, q.b., to the boiling water, and boil potato cubes just a few minutes; then drain, saving the water for the cooking of the spaghetti:

After putting the water back on to boil for the cooking of the spaghetti, add the cooked potato tidbits to the sautéed garlic and onion:

Simmer a few minutes, adding a ladleful or so of the boiling water to moisten, as needed.

Add salt and pepper, q.b., as potatoes simmer and put spaghetti in water when the water returns to a rolling boil. Add salt to the water, if needed.

Drain spaghetti when al dente and add it to the potato mixture (Do add a bit of that boiling cooking water, il brodo della pasta, if needed to moisten all).

Transfer your spaghetti con patate to the serving bowl.

Spoon in additional onion/garlic/potato mixture as needed….

…and sprinkle on diced parsley,…..


…and grated cheese:


Add olive oil as needed to moisten the mixture:

Serve – and enjoy.

Pino did.

Grazie, Signora Vincenza, con tanto affetto.

You taught me so much….

…… and not just how to make this buonissima pasta.

Click here for another superb Signora Vincenza recipe

Click here for another recipe for “COVID-19 distraction”

Click here for more news on agretti – and another recipe

Click here to read about Novella’s vegetable stand during the coronavirus lockdown

Click here for another tasty – and easy!- pasta recipe

Click here for another easy recipe to ward off CPA

Read about an Assisi COVID-19 springtime

Enjoy this “COVID-19 lockdown” recipe

Click here for a tasty Pino recipe as a coronavirus distraction

Click here for another “coronavirus-deterrent” recipe

Click here  for another “coronavirus lockdown” recipe

Click here to read about – and see!- our Easter Monday picnic during lockdown

Read about seeking floral splendor during lockdown

Read about Assisi’s superb medieval festival, Calendimaggio, cancelled due to COVID-19

Click here for the recipe for a tasty pasta dish – and ours on Good Friday during COVID-19

Read about a floral tribute to Gubbio and their May 15th festival, Corsa dei Ceri – during lockdown

Read about a “lockdown liberation” for April 25thla Festa della Repubblica (and so very linked to Gubbio, as well)

Read about newborn goats as a coronavirus diversion

Read here about culling the wool of our cashmere goats – a perfect coronavirus distraction

Read here about Pino’s goat cheese

Read here about a snowy day in Umbria during our coronavirus lockdown

Click here for an easy, tasty recipe

Read here about an outdoor market visit to ward off a CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack)

Click here to read about – and see! – a favorite Orvieto eating spot (to ward off CPA)

Read about – and see! – Assisi during coronavirus lockdown

Read about a Pino feast on March 8th as coronavirus distraction 

Click here for another tasty – and easy!- pasta recipe

Cook away a possible CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack) with this simple recipe for a buonissima pasta dish

Click here for another easy recipe to ward off CPA

Enjoy this “COVID-19 lockdown” recipe

Click here to read about – and see!- our Easter Monday picnic during lockdown

1 Comment

  • Donna Hamilton says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful site to behold and a lovely experience! I can’t wait to prepare one of your recipes and I hope to zoom into your program on Saturday.
    You really made me smile today with your delightful recipes and sharing photos of your beautiful life. My husband and I had the opportunity to visit Tuscany and Sicily a few years ago and dream of going back. Thank you!
    Donna:)

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