Cavatelli with pork sausage, peas and cinnamon – The Food of Love Cookery School giveaway

I loved my visit to Sicily last year. When the going gets tough, I think of Ortigia, that little island that is part of Siracusa, in the south east corner of Sicily. I look back at the blog posts I wrote about the market in Ortigia and the town of Modica and dream. A few months ago, New Zealand based author Nicky Pellegrino whose father is Italian, found these same blog posts and wrote to me on Twitter. The posts were remarkably aligned with her newest novel, the “Food of love cookery school”, which is set in the fictitious town of Favio but actually based on Modica. The novel is a tale of four women who go to a cooking school run by Luca Amore in Favio; each of the women is looking for something more than new cooking skills from their time in Sicily.

Gelati cart in Ortigia

Nicky sent me two copies of the book, which I am giving away as prizes to two lucky readers/photographers. The task is this – post a photo on Instagram and hashtag it #foodoflovecompetiton. The photo should capture your thoughts on the themes of friends, food, Italy and love. You can enter up to two photos. The competition will start today Wednesday 26th March 2014 and will finish on Saturday 12th April. The competition will be judged by Lisa La Spina, who together with her chef husband Alfredo, runs the fabulous Bar Idda, my favourite little part of Sicily on Lygon St in Brunswick.

To put you in the mood for food, love, friends and Italy, I have prepared a simple Sicilian-inspired pasta dish – cavatelli with sausage, peas and cinnamon. You will LOVE this dish, which is spicy and hearty, just made to be shared with friends. My recipe is based on one at the back of Nicky’s book by Katia Amore, whose cooking school in Modica Nicky spent time at to research the book. Now that sounds like my type of research! Further inspiration is a music clip from the legendary Mina and Alberto Lupo at the end of this post.

Good luck to all those who enter the competition. The book is a great weekend or holiday read – you can imagine you are on a cooking holiday in Sicily. I hope to see you all on Instagram with lovely photos for Lisa and Alfredo to pick from. You can find me there as @italyonmymind and if you look on the right hand side of this post, you can see my latest Instagram photos. Just click on one of the photos to have a closer look.


Cavatelli con salsiccia, piselli e cannella (Cavatelli with sausage, peas and cinnamon)

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

175g Cavatelli (or other semolina based pasta without eggs)
2 pork and fennel sausages
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
good pinch of dried chillies
1/2 glass red wine
2/3 – 3/4 cup tomato passata
1/2 – 2/3 cup frozen peas
olive oil
grated pecorino cheese to serve
fresh parsley leaves, chopped, to serve (optional)

Remove the casings from the sausages and break up the meat into pieces. Add a glug of olive oil to a large frypan on medium-high and add the sausage meat. Cook for about 5 minutes until the meat has cooked through, stirring every minute or so, then add the wine. Let that cook off, then add the cinnamon, the chilli and the passata. Turn the heat down to low and allow the flavours to infuse as it cooks, adding the peas after a few minutes. Once you have added the peas, stir them through. Stir occasionally, adding more passata if needed. The sauce should take about ten minutes after the peas have been added.

Boil salted water in a large pot and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the drained pasta, stirring it well. Sprinkle on grated pecorino and parsley leaves (if using) to serve.


And now here is Mina (singing) with Alberto Lupo (speaking) in the 1972 song “Parole, parole, parole” – I love the way she ignores him as he says words of love to her “tu sei il mio sempre” (you are my forever). She replies singing “they are just parole (words)”.


  • Jo O'Mara says:

    Looks delicious, but most enjoyed listening to the song and watching the video as I drank my morning coffee. I remember the large bowls your mum would set out for breakfast coffee each night for milky coffee. I drink my morning coffee black. Alberto reminds me of Mr. Cussigh.

  • Love this recipe! Love your cavatelli (is it too late to have a bowl??)Adore the Mina video…it reminds me so much of my dad. What a fun giveaway, Paola!

    • Thank you! Isn’t it wonderful that music (as well as food) can remind us of things in the past. Thanks for dropping by Lori, I really appreciate it

  • albert says:

    Hi Paola,

    Salsicce e bisi is a favourite “quickie” recipe here at home. The recipe (I do it the way mum used to) is virtually identical but without the cinnamon and chilli. It takes virtually no time to prepare and it’s good winter fare with a nice polenta. A splash of white wine helps all the flavours blend too. I never thought of doing this but I’ll have to use the leftovers with some semolina gnocchi or similar and give this a go! It sounds great.


    • Ciao Albert – that is one thing I always have in the fridge/freezer – bisi – I am sure “risi e bisi” is a favorite in your house as it is in mine. I love this dish with cinnamon & fennel because it tastes a bit different from the one from our part of Italy – Sicilian food has that African influence. Those regional differences are amazing!

  • Babi says:

    I was never taught by him but I remember seeing him several times at school functions or when I sometimes met you there or maybe I went to a parent teacher night for mum and dad. Lovely idea for the post and the competition!

  • Paola, what a fun contest. I’m not familiar with the book. Sounds like a great read. Your cavatelli look and sound delicious. Mi hai fattto venire la fame! xo

    • the book is a great “girly” read – it is a UK publisher so I am not sure how available it is around the world. Why not enter the competition – you might win!! The entries thus far have all been food photos – but they don’t have to be and that makes it extra fun.

  • Looks scrumptious! Will certainly try this recipe, thank you!

  • Amazing film clip, loved it !! – I enjoyed watching the clip as I reminised of a wedding I was part of in the 70s (I was a young girl), the hairstyle, the thick eye liner and huge sideburns. Thanks for sharing the recipe looks so yummy.

    • thanks Amira, it is one of my favorites, I remember my father singing along to it. I love the idea of a 70s wedding! the style was so over the top – but also strangely good!

  • […] 5. A #foodoflove photo contest, plus a nice dish of cavatelli. […]

  • cheri says:

    Love this recipe, it’s is so beautiful and simple at the same time.

  • I found you through Domenica and am so glad I did. The recipe looks great, but I also really enjoyed hearing Mina sing that great song again.

  • […] reminder of the Instagram competition I am running that I wrote about last week. By posting a photo that captures “food, love, […]

  • Ciao Paola
    Wow, what beautiful photos (I found you through Instagram) and great film clip. I have wonderful memories of time in Sicily having spent 3 weeks there in 2010, In fact, I spent my 55th birthday in Ortygia – hard to top. Then we went to Modica for a few wonderful days and beyond…. See my posts about Sicily here:
    What a wonderful community of Italy bloggers out here in the inter webs!
    MLTatLarge (Mary Louise)

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