Pass me the can!

Pass me the can!

Pass me the can!

“Buatta” and “buttigghia” are two terms of the Sicilian dialect used above all in a well-defined period of the year: summer.

But let’s see what they mean and what they refer to: a “buatta”, is the classic jar that can be both glass and tin, “buttigghia” is the bottle.

As per tradition, in the hot Sicilian summers, and more precisely at the end of August, in all the country houses there is a habit of “making buttigghi ‘ca sassa”, preserves of sauce and peeled tomatoes. The day starts almost at dawn, between wooden boxes full of strictly “sammarzano” quality tomatoes, pignatuni, cazzalori, sculapasta, wooden spoons, cuppini, buatti and buttigghi (pots, colanders, wooden spoons, jars and glass bottles).

It starts by washing the tomatoes which, once cleaned, are boiled in large pots. When cooked, they are pricked and drained in colanders. After draining, they are inserted little by little into the tomato-passer, today an electric tool that replaces the old manual sieves, still available in the kitchens of Sicilian grandmothers.

Both the tomato pulp and the skins are extracted from the tomato passer which, to obtain a denser sauce, must be sifted several times. This procedure must be carried out for the entire quantity of tomatoes.

Once finished, you start to bottle the tomato sauce and to close the bottles tightly one by one. The bottles will then be placed in large iron drums filled with water and separated from each other with blankets and newspapers to avoid breaking, where they will be cooked until boiling. Even today, many use wood cooking, being careful that the flame is always strong.

Boiled for about half an hour, they are left to cool, extracted from the stems and stored for 40 days, resting time before the tomato sauce can be used.

For peeled tomatoes, the process stops at draining. The cooked tomatoes are placed in the glass jars and boiled in the drums together with the bottles.

A very intense day characterized by the particular scent that tomato sauce gives off when it boils between sweet and sour, full of family and tradition, where young and old work, laugh, sing and dance all together. But this day of hard work and pleasant effort is finally rewarded with a good plate of spaghetti “‘ca sassa frisca, basil and ricotta cheese”, “sasizza” and “roasted peppers” (grilled sausage and peppers), sweet and very good wine that always makes good blood!

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In the meantime … “Buona pasta ‘ca sassa a tutti”!

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