Sunday Supper in Sicily: The Traditional Recipes of Valle dell’Acate

Sunday Supper in Sicily: The Traditional Recipes of Valle dell’Acate
It is at the table, tasting high-quality food and pleasantly conversing that the character and quality of a wine is thrown into full relief.Gaetana Jacono

Valle dell’Acate is world-renowned for making high-quality Sicilian wines of incredible elegance that exhibit a very special sense of place– which is no small feat on this island. It’s telling that the estate is both one of the original pioneers of the appellation, as well as the current benchmark by which all others must be compared.

What you might not know is that the winery is also home to some incredible, traditional, Sicilian cooking!


Gaetana Jacono, the owner of Valle dell’Acate and a force of nature, opened The House of Pairings to rediscover the pleasure of eating and drinking strictly local, where everything from the food to the walls and the furniture tells a story of pure authenticity. Offering a unique experience to small groups as well as courses on cooking and pairing wines, the house operates to promote the wines of Sicily and Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, of which Gaetana is a brand ambassador.
We chose four of our favorite recipes Gaetana released in her cookbook, The Recipes of Gaetana, to inspire your next Sunday dinner (or Monday, or Tuesday…) with these straight-out-of-Sicily recipes. Enjoy this glimpse into Gaetana’s home with four dishes and pairings fresh from Valle dell’Acate.


This refreshing and creamy vellutata is the perfect start to a meal!


Recipes of Gaetana of Valle De'Acate 1


  • 18 oz. fresh fava beans
  • 3.5 oz. Ragusa sheep’s cheese
  • 2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Optional: branch of chervil or parsley for decoration 


  1. Shell the Fava beans and cook them in salted boiling water.
  2. Chill in ice water, drain, and then peel the beans.
  3. In a food processor, blend half the beans with the extra-virgin olive oil, and salt to taste.
  4. Cut the sheep cheese into flakes.
  5. Put the Fava bean cream in the middle of a serving bowl, place the remaining whole beans on top of the cream, and sprinkle with the sheep cheese.
  6. Decorate with the branch of chervil or parsley and a few drops of olive oil.


Truly authentic Sicilian cooking – simple ingredients and maximum flavor!


Recipes of Gaetana of Valle De'Acate 2INGREDIENTS (SERVES FOUR):
  • 2.2 lb. of eggplant
  • 1 lb. durum wheat maccheroni (or your favorite pasta)
  • 7 oz. salted ricotta cheese (Ricotta Salata)


  • 2.2 lbs. cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • Small handful of fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt


  1. To prepare the sauce: wash the tomatoes and cut them in half.
  2. Put the tomatoes in a pot with the other ingredients: salt, sugar, olive oil, and basil (whole leaves) to create your sauce.
  3. Bring your sauce to a boil and turn to the lowest heat. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce becomes creamy in consistence. Crush tomatoes with the back of a spoon where necessary. Remove from heat.
  4. In the meantime, cut the eggplant into small cubes (there is no need to eliminate their water if you use the small, soft purple type). Sauté in abundant olive oil, drain, and let dry well.
  5. Cook and drain the pasta according to directions, add it to the tomato sauce, then add the eggplant and drizzle a bit of olive oil over the dish.
  6. Serve after sprinkling with a healthy serving of salted ricotta.


At once both wonderfully extravagant and deliciously rustic!


IRecipes of Gaetana of Valle De'AcateNGREDIENTS (SERVES SIX):

  • 3.5 lb. duck
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 3.5 oz. of red wine
  • Zest of one orange
  • Juice of one orange
  • 1/2 oz. of butter
  • 5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ladle of vegetable broth
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Detach the breast, the thighs, and the upper thighbone from the rest of the carcass. Break the carcass into small pieces and place in a large pot for browning.
  3. Place the pot over medium high heat and pour the red wine onto the carcass, let it evaporate, then add the tomato, the onion, and the carrot cut into small pieces. Continue to brown and then cover the carcass with cold water.
  4. Bring to a simmer and then cook for approximately 30-40 minutes, run the fat off, filter the remaining reduced liquid and set it aside. Discard the vegetables and duck carcass.
  5. Use a julienne stripper on your orange to create long strips of orange zest. In a new pot, boil the zest of the orange in water and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Juice the orange and combine with the reduced liquid from the duck. This is the sauce which, at the very end, you will complete with the butter, and boiled orange zest.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, sauté the breast and thighs of the duck, add salt and pepper to taste, then the vegetable broth. Place in the pre-heated oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the breasts are completely cooked.
  8. Remove the duck breasts from the oven, cover them in tinfoil, and continue to cook the thighs for another 6 minutes.
  9. Plate the duck meat. Prepare the sauce at the last minute by melting in the butter and adding the orange zest. Drizzle over your duck … . and the job is done!


Refreshing, tart, and zesty. The perfect special treat!


Recipes of Gaetana of Valle De'Acate 3INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 qt. or 4 cups of pink grapefruit juice
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 oz. of wheat or corn starch
  • Orange marmalade


  1. Squeeze the pink grapefruits and filter their juice.
  2. Dissolve the starch in a bit of cold water, making sure to eliminate any lumps which may form.
  3. Pour the grapefruit juice into a pot and add the sugar.
  4. Add the starch and heat over medium heat until the first bubbles begin to appear, stirring constantly.
  5. Pour the custard into a mould, let it cool, then refrigerate for approximately 6-8 hours.
  6. Remove from the mould, place on a plate, and serve with the orange marmalade.


Sicilian cooking is all about less is more! When in doubt, Gaetana says, ‘Keep it simple… simple recipes are more pure in taste. Less stress, means more joy!’ These recipes are meant to be shared with family and friends, but you can simplify or complicate based on your experience level and preferences in the kitchen.

If all else fails, any of Valle dell’Acate’s wines can pair well with a nice hunk of bread and a little cheese!



Wine and Spirit Label 1

Grillo ‘Zagra’, Valle dell’Acate

  • 10–15 year old vines of Grillo grown in yellow sandy-clay soils that enhance the freshness and aromas of the wine
  • Fermented for 2 weeks with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel under temperature control
  • The wine is left on its fine lees for 4 months, and then put in bottle for a spring release
  • The debut vintage was 2005
  • Certified organic from the 2018 vintage


Wine and Spirit Label 2

Nero d’Avola ‘il Moro’, Valle dell’Acate

  • From 20 – 25 year old vines planted to black soil vineyards at 120 meters above sea level
  • Spontaneous fermentation occurs in steel tanks with indigenous yeasts, and maceration lasts up to one week
  • After fermentation, the wine is aged in large oak casks of 30HL for 8 months before bottling
  • 1999 was the first year of production.


Wine and Spirit Label 3

Nero d’Avola ‘Tane’, Valle dell’Acate

  • 100% Nero d’Avola
  • From 20-25 year old vines from Vittoria.
  • Vineyards are comprised of chalky soil and sand.
  • Fruit is picked in October, followed by 12 days of skin maceration and spontaneous fermentation.
  • Wine is aged for 12 months in French barrique, 20% of which is new.


Wine and Spirit Label 4

Il Frappato, Valle dell’Acate

  • Certified organic from the 2018 vintage
  • 100% Frappato
  • From 10 – 20 year old vines planted to black soils with white stones
  • Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel
  • Maceration lasts about a week
  • Aged in steel  for six months
  • 1995 was the first year of production

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