Preparing for Santa Lucia Feast Day
Cuccìa(whole wheat) is a dish made in some regions for Santa Lucia in Italy, especially in Sicily. The word itself is Sicilian. You can buy this at most Italian Grocery stores on The HIll.
Cuccìa is typically made with wheat berries, ricotta and sugar. On Santa Lucia people eat a variety of dishes made with wheat berries.
It’s said that there was a famine in Sicily several centuries ago (the exact year seems to vary), when a ship arrived in Palermo bearing wheat on Santa Lucia’s Day, December 13th. So on this day cuccia is the only wheat eaten… no bread.
This tradition is especially important in the Sicilian city of Palermo, and also in Syracuse where Santa Lucia was born.
1. Soak the wheat berries in water for 2 days, making sure to change the water twice a day and rinse the wheat berries. I covered the bowl with a towel while the berries were sitting.
2. After they’ve finished soaking, rinse the wheat berries and put them in a pot covered with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cook for about 3 hours. They’re done when they split open and taste tender but chewy. Let them cool a little.
3. Meanwhile, put the ricotta, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Beat with a hand blender until smooth and creamy. If you’d like a thinner consistency you can add the milk. Some like it soupy some people like it thick adjust it to your taste. The same with the sugar and vanilla.
4. Put the ricotta mixture through a sieve. You can press it through with a large spoon right into the bowl of cooked wheat berries.
5. Cut up the chocolate into little pieces and the candied cherries.
6. Mix together the ricotta mixture, the wheat berries and the chocolate.
8. You can eat it right away, but if you want it cold and thick, let it chill over night.
More Pictures will be added daily.