Sicilian Pasta alla Carrettiera

Pasta alla Carrettiera is a traditional Sicilian recipe enjoyed right across the region. A quick sauce that is simple, yet incredibly flavoursome. This recipe is attributed to the cart drivers because of its simplicity, hence the name ‘carrettiera.’ It is assumed that the drivers were able to make up the sauce easily on the side of the road while their pasta boiled over an open flame. Adding a little more oil to the sauce and allowing it to sit for a few hours makes a perfect sauce to spoon over cooked fish, chicken or sliced of cooked eggplant. It is also delicious spooned over bruschetta.

Sicilian Pasta alla Carrettiera

Serves 6


  • 6 ripe tomatoes (about 600g)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • A few flakes of chilli salt
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 1 cup grated pecorino or salted ricotta cheese (pecorino is a sheep’s milk cheese)


  • Peel and chop the tomatoes, being careful to keep all of the juices, and add them into a large bowl.
  • Add the garlic, basil and chilli flakes into a mortar and pestle and start to pound until you have a paste, add in a little of the olive oil and salt to help mix it together. Once this is creamy add it to the tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the pasta as directed on the packet and then drain, tossing it quickly into the tomatoes, and then serve it topped with the grated cheese.

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