ITALIANS CELEBRATE THE FEAST OF ST. JOSEPH
In all of Italy, St. Joseph is considered their Patron but it is in Sicily where His celebration is the most prevalent. According to legend there was a severe drought at one time and the people of Sicily prayed to St. Joseph to bring them rain. They promised that if their prayers were answered they would prepare a large Feast to honor St. Joseph. The rains came. The people in gratitude and thanksgiving prepared a feast to honor their patron Saint. During the drought, it was the fava bean which saved the population from starvation and so it is a traditional part of St. Joseph altars and festive meals which are traditionally meatless. Zeppole, a fried fritter with a cream filling and topped with a stemmed cherry or Sfinci a sweet fried dough ball filled with a ricotta cream chocolate chips and sometimes decorated with orange zest and candied cherries are always a central part of the desserts offered. Pasta con Le Sarde is a definite pasta part of the meal and maybe even a Fava Bean dish. And it is rare that you will find a Sicilian without a Fava Bean in his pocket, carried for good luck.
E. 48th Street Market carries Pasta con Le Sarde and for the Feast of St. Joseph we will have Zeppole. Both of these items go quickly so I suggest that you call the Market and place an order. Zeppole will be made fresh daily from Friday March 13th until Saturday March 21st.
If you want to try your hand at making these delicious pastries, you will find a recipe in my new cookbook Basta Pasta Ancora, which is available at the market.
An interesting side note, In Italy, March 19th is also celebrated as Father’s Day.