Cacocciuli. The Catanese violet. There are two versions that tell of the coming of the artichoke in Sicily. One is that it arrived in the West through the Greeks. But in reality, the name has an Arabic origin, in fact, it derives from the word “kharshūf” and it is assumed that in reality, their arrival on the island is due to Arab domination. The artichoke called “Sicilian violet” or “Catania violet” was cultivated at the end of the nineteenth century in the southeastern part of the island.
Thanks to the favorable climate, it found fertile soil in Sicily, to the point of making the island one of the major exporters in Italy and worldwide. This type of artichoke is distinguished not only by the presence of thorns, but also by its aroma and taste. In Catania it is cooked in different ways, but the one that is certainly most loved is the roasted artichoke or better “a caccociula arrustuta” . The traditional preparation of roasted artichokes involves the following steps. The first is about cleaning the deck. Each artichoke is cut from the initial bunch, leaving a part of the stem intact. Then you have to slam them against a flat surface, this will allow them to open. Once opened, they must be washed, drained and seasoned. The dressing is prepared with garlic and chopped parsley. Adding olive oil, salt and black pepper. Once the embers of the hearth have been prepared, the artichokes are placed on it over low heat to allow impeccable cooking. The expected cooking is about 20 minutes.