Pasta Paulina style


Pasta alla Paolina ricetta ► Primi piatti della cucina siciliana ► @vicaincucina

The pasta Paulina style, also called «a la Palína» or «Pasta Palína» is a pasta dish of “poor” Palermitan gastronomy.

The original recipe includes the use of ziti or bucatini, and are seasoned with a delicious tomato sauce flavored with salted anchovies, and spices as cloves and cinnamon powder.

The original recipe over time has been modified, so today we have dozens of pasta alla palina and completely different from each other.

They are also calleda la paulóta“. One characteristic characterizes them all: the aroma of cinnamon and cloves, absolutely essential.


🍴 Serves🕓 Preparation🕓 Cooking
615 min30 min

  • 800 g of ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 basil leaves
  • 1/2 glass (90 g) little olive oil + 2 tbsp
  • 8 salted anchovies (cleaned and spiced)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 2 cloves (reduced to powder)
  • 500 g of ziti (short pasta)



  1. Simmer 800 g of tomatoes (previously washed and cut into wedges) for a few minutes. Let them cool and then sift them with a vegetable mill.
  2. Add to the sieved tomato: 2 chopped garlic cloves, a few basil leaves, salt, pepper and 1/2 glass of good quality olive oil. Cook over low heat until the sauce becomes creamy.
  3. Inside a small pan with 2 tablespoons of oil, add 8 salted anchovies (which you previously cleaned under running cold water, removed the small central spine on the back and dabbed with absorbent kitchen paper).
  4. Combine the anchovies with the tomato sauce and flavor with a pinch of cinnamon powder and 2 cloves also reduced in powder. Gently mix everything and leave to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Cook the pasta al dente and continue cooking in the tomato sauce. For example, if the pasta format you have chosen requires 10 minutes of cooking, cook it in water for 7 minutes (counting from the start of the boil), and then for another 2 minutes in the tomato sauce.
  6. Season the pasta (preferably short pasta) and serve still hot. You can serve the pasta with toasted breadcrumbs and some toasted and chopped almonds.

Pasta alla Paolina ricetta ► Primi piatti della cucina siciliana ► @vicaincucina

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Pasta alla Paolina with salted sardines and cauliflower: compared to the previous recipe it provides more abundant salted anchovies, abundant tomato extract (instead of sauce), it does not include fresh sardines, but a doubled quantity of cauliflower. The flavoring is with pepper, cinnamon, and cloves in powder.

Pasta alla Paolina with fresh sardines and cauliflowers: Cut an onion into very thin slices, brown it in plenty of oil, add 100 g of salted anchovies (clean and remove the small central spine on the back) and a spoonful of “strattu” (concentrate of tomato) diluted in a little water. Add 400 g of fresh sardines (cleaned and spined) and cook them until they are reduced to small pieces; add 500 g of the most tender parts of a boiled cauliflower, and flavor with salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves in powder and 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds. Cook over low heat, stirring everything, which must be creamy and uniform. Boil 500 g of short pasta (“ziti” type) in the cauliflower cooking water, drain it, and put it in the pan where the sauce cooks, mix and serve.

CURIOSITY: Pasta Paulina is a sicilian dish invented by a monk, the cook of the Monastery of San Francesco di Paola in Palermo. The friars belonging to this order, called Paulines, in the dialect “palini”, had to comply with the rule of poverty and also with the absolute ban on eating meat and its derivatives; therefore the friar cook had to find a solution between the RULE and the appetite of the confreres, thus inventing this delicious dish.


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