The traditional Modican cuisine can be very complex at times, especially if we refer to holiday recipes. Modican macaroni is a first-course option that always gets a place of honor at Sunday lunches, although it was originally created as a Mardi Gras recipe.

That’s why the original name for this dish is “Maccarruna di sdirrimarti”, an odd term that indicates the last day of the Mardi Gras celebration, which, in the County of Modica, used to last until the death knell tolled, at midnight, on the night preceding Lent.

Hard to cook, this first course is oven-baked and needs a rich and very tasty ragù: after all, according to the Sicilian culinary tradition, there is neither a party nor a Sunday celebration without a long and laborious lunch!


  • 500g macaroni
  • 150g ground beef
  • 100g ground pork
  • 100g sausage
  • 150g lean veal
  • 2 onions
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 zucchini
  • 250g peas
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 150g Tuma cheese
  • 100g grated Pecorino cheese
  • 200g tomato sauce
  • Dry white wine
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Brown the veal in a pan with some extra-virgin olive oil and a chopped onion, then add the wine and let it evaporate; add a carrot, the celery, salt, pepper and cover everything with warm water or broth (either vegetable or meat broth).

Cook on a medium fire for about one hour: let the meat rest and cool down after cooking it. Shred the meat and put it back in the pan where its sauce is. In the meantime, in another saucepan, where you previously sweated half onion with oil, cook the remaining meat and the chopped sausage in the tomato sauce.

Pour half a glass of wine until reduced and then add the shredded meat, with its sauce, to the rest of the meat; let it all cook for 40 minutes adding a bit of warm water from time to time.

In another pan, stew the rest of the onions, that you previously chopped finely, in oil, and then add the peas. Flavor with salt and pepper and cook for about 20 minutes. Do the same with the zucchini. In the meantime, prepare the macaroni, cook them al dente and add part of the ragù and the Pecorino cheese.

Arrange part of the macaroni on a baking tray greased with butter or oil, and then add a spoon of peas, the boiled eggs cut in slices, the zucchini and the Tuma cheese previously chopped. Repeat this, layer by layer, until all the macaroni and ingredients have been used. Cover everything with the remaining Pecorino cheese and bake at 200 °C for about half an hour.

This recipe serves 6-8 people: keep the leftovers in the freezer, so that you don’t have to worry about those days when you don’t have time to cook and so that you will always have something to serve to an unexpected guest!

Get social!