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Let’s find out what to eat in Caltanissetta and its surroundings . As in all of Sicily, the dishes are the result of the intertwining and influence of numerous cultures and peoples who have colonized the island over the centuries.

Being close to the provicina of Enna, the cuisine of Caltanissetta and its surroundings shares different dishes and typical products, such as baked rice, soups and desserts. However, there is no shortage of their own specialties.

Chicken Nissena

What to eat in Caltanissetta: Chicken alla nissena

Chicken alla nissena is baked in the oven with caciocavallo cheese, breadcrumbs and lemon.


Dedda71 , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Buccellati or cucciddati generally have a donut shape, but there are also smaller varieties with different shapes. It is made from shortcrust pastry filled with dried fruit such as almonds, pistachios, figs, honey and so on.

The name comes from the Latin “buccellatum”, a donut-shaped sweet bread prepared by the ancient Romans.

Since the times of the Middle Ages, a cake in the shape of a donut filled with raisins was prepared in Lucca and over time this dessert also became popular in Sicily, after the arrival on the island of a Lucca community. Subsequently the recipe underwent Arab influence, enriching itself with new ingredients, such as oranges, almonds, dried figs and cinnamon.


Luigi Scorcia , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Egg pasta generally seasoned with tomato sauce, vegetables, legumes or mushrooms.


Muffuletta with ricotta
Muffuletta with ricotta – Daniele Pugliesi , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The muffuletta is a typical focaccina of Caltanissetta and is usually eaten with ricotta, spleen and caciocavallo. The crumb is very soft and is flavored with aniseed or fennel.

The name muffuletta could derive from the French mouflette, meaning soft, fluffy. Others believe that it derives from the English muffin. In fact, the Muffuletta could come from northern Europe, brought to Sicily by the army of Frederick II of Swabia . The soldiers in fact ate scones of unleavened bread, called muffins in the Saxon language, to which cumin seeds were added to prolong their conservation. Today the Muffuletta is even found in the USA, although almost completely revisited in the American style . It was in fact brought here by a Sicilian emigrant and was very successful.

Maccu of broad beans

Pasta with broad bean maccu
Pasta with broad bean maccu – Drunkpiper , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

A typical and much loved dish is certainly the maccu di fave, that is a soup of fava beans that are mashed with a ladle during cooking until they become a cream.


The mbriulate were the typical peasant lunch of the Sicilian hinterland towns and are still very popular today. They are prepared with a dough of bread dough, topped with with olives, onion and minced pork.


Frascatula with wild fennel is a typical recipe from the Enna and Calabria area and is called the Sicilian polenta . Yes, polenta is also eaten in the deep south. Frascatula is prepared with corn or common wheat flour and is a poor dish, flavored with local vegetables. The frascatula with fennel is in fact only one of the possible variants, other versions in fact involve the use of cabbage, broccoli, chicory and so on. In addition, it is also enriched with pancetta, in short, to be absolutely tried.


Bread and Panelle
Bread and Panelle – Dedda71 , CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Panelle spread in Sicily during the Arab domination between the 9th and 11th centuries BC . The Arabs in fact obtained a flour from chickpeas, which cooked on the fire together with water, was transformed into a dough to be fried.

They are very popular especially in Palermo but you can also find them in Caltanissetta and its surroundings. They can be eaten “alone” as an appetizer, or with bread, the famous bread and panelle.


Fuata – Source:

The fuata is a kind of focaccia prepared with pizza dough and topped with tomato, sardines and pecorino.

Amaro Averna

Dedda71 , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

And finally, how not to mention the famous bitter Averna, which was produced right here, in Caltanissetta.

Typical Sicilian dishes

Here you find the typical Sicilian dishes that you can find all over the island.