Sicilian Couscous

Couscous alla Nina Barbera Menfi Sicily


My first visit to Sicily was the spring of 2008. A restaurant owner at the time, I was visiting a small boutique winery located in Menfi, Sicily. Bella Bistro featured Sicilian wines from Cantine Barbera and the wines soon became a favorite for me and my guests. From that spring visit, female chef (me) & female wine producer Marilena Barbera became instant life long friends.


Marilena immediately embraced me into her family. The huge pleasure for me has been cooking with Marilena’s grandmother (who has since past) and her mother Nina. To be accepted into a Sicilian kitchen with an open invitation for learning the family recipes and traditions is something I am extremely grateful for.


Here our photos of our couscous evening on our recent Sicily tour.

Nina Barbera demonstrating the hand shaping of couscous . The size and shape of this bowl is very important in the process.

Our group from Colorado getting hands on practice for making couscous.

Nina & Marilena Barbera making Couscous for a feast.

Making the broth for steaming the couscous

Nina asked Kathy & Michele to help clean fish heads for the broth the seafood will be cooked in. Funny thing is Kathy is not fond of fish heads or eyes staring at her from a plate. But you do not tell Nina, no.., the rest of us got a few laughs over this.

Nina with a BIG fish head

This is not the best photo, so I hope someone got a better one. But definitely was the best Couscous I have ever eaten .

Cantine Barbera’s wines chilling down for us. A special beer made with a grape that is one of Marilena’s newest creation that was crazy good !


Cantine Barbera you must try Marilena’s wines…. all her passion and love for her Sicilian land packaged in a bottle.

2 Comments on “Sicilian Couscous

  1. Enjoyed your interesting and informative posts while in Italy. I think I prefer your version of Italian trips than the usual tours of countless churches, etc.!
    We are going in a couple of weeks and hope to have as much fun as your group.

    A presto,

    Pietrantonio Lombardi