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Sauces from Sicily

Italian sauces are well-known throughout the world. But there is a region of the country that offers something distinctively different: Sicily. Legally part of Italy, Sicily has often gone its own way politically. That same independent spirit is found in the cuisine of this sun-drenched island, and most particularly in its fine sauces.

One of the secrets to a fine, thick Sicilian tomato sauce is strutto. But don't include it when you're trying to go low-cal. Strutto is rendered pork fat and, while it does a superb job of thickening up that paste, it can also thicken you. In moderation, though, it adds flavor and bulk that would otherwise require hours of cooking.

Some recipes for Sicilian sauces call for butter. You can do anything you like in your own kitchen, of course, but remember that authentic Italian cuisine calls for butter in Northern dishes, olive oil in Southern ones. Sicily, since it's an island off the southern coast is more south than north, but it's always been very individualistic.

Their onion and garlic sauce, ideal for grilled fish, and very easy to prepare should be the first to try. Then one is ready for a Sicilian lentil salsa which takes just a bit more preparation than the previous one but, oh my, are the results ever worth it!.