Saturday, May 27, 2017

La Planeta Estate: A Passion for Food and Wine in Southern Sicily

This is the view from the check in desk at La Planeta Estate.  Rolling hills of vineyards, and olive trees, going towards the sea.  The landscape here is similar to Southern California, with cactus, and succulent plants.
We arrived after a long day of touring, and wine tasting to this beautiful resort overlooking the Mediterranean.  Dinner tonight was on the beautiful dining room terrace, accompanied by the local wine, Planeta Estate.
After a beautiful breakfast on the terrace, we headed to the kitchen with Chef Angelo Pumilia.
Not only is Angelo a gifted chef, he is a terrific teacher---a rare combination.  With two cooking teachers in his class, he had us learning new techniques, and laughing at his references to "mommy's cooking."
Our menu was: Caponata, homemade pasta with Sicilian pesto, Cutlet of Veal with fennel and tomato salad, and cannoli.  Typical Sicilian dishes, that Chef Angelo said are like mom used to make.

Eggplant for the Caponata

Hot olive oil for frying the eggplant

New Technique for onions

Frying the eggplant

onion, celery saute


tomato paste

Add caption

Fried eggplant


Once it was together, it was to be served at room temperature, never cold.
Next up:  Pasta with Sicilian pesto, with only 3 ingredients, fresh tomatoes, basil and almonds.  It was a revelation.  We made the pasta, which should dry for 24 hours before cooking.  It was a flour and water pasta, rather than an egg pasta.
I'll let Chef Angelo do the talking

Nonly did Angelo teach us how to make our pasta for the day, he showed us how to use the dough to make different shapes

Ingredients for the pesto

Grind the basil, and almonds, then set aside.  Grind the tomatoes in the same food processor

Add the tomatoes to the basil almond mixture

Boil the pasta, and toss with the sauce

Making the canoli dough

rolling and shaping into ovals

wrapping around the mold

Ready for the fryer

Yep, deep frying, why do you think they are so good?

Once our lesson was over, we were seated on the gorgeous wisteria covered terrace overlooking the vineyards, and proceeded to eat our lunch.

What a joy to share the kitchen with Chef Angelo, and to learn about his passion, the foods and wines of the region.  Here are a few more snaps from this beautiful place.  La Planeta would make a great respite before proceeding on to Siracusa and Taormina.

Finishing off with cannoli was icing on the cake; thanks to Chef Angelo and the staff at La Planeta Estate for two beautiful days.

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