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Jun 14, 2011 01:41 PM

Spaghetti with meat sauce...and cinnamon sticks

I know a lot about Italian and Italian-American cuisine, but this came as a total shocker. Googling it, I found some recipes that used sticks in the sauce, but not as a garnish.

Anyone else familiar with this?

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  1. Sicilians do that. Also adding raisins/currants with pine nuts and fennel 'leaves'. I think Greeks also add cinnamon to some of their pasta dishes.

    4 Replies
    1. re: arktos

      Oh, and I forgot, they also like to add anchovies as well.. mmmmmm!

      1. re: arktos

        Anchovies I knew. Raisins/currants/sultanas I knew. Pinenuts I knew. (Sometimes all three.) But leaving the cinnamon sticks as garnish? That's a thing in Sicily?

        1. re: arktos

          i could add anchovies to Cheerios and be happy.Cinnamon and tomato? Don't even.

      2. Repulsive. I'd rather add Sweet 'n Low to my sauce. I know Greeks and Sicilains add nutmeg to sauce, but that's going way too far! That's right up there with maple syrup on breakfast sausages. :(

        1 Reply
        1. re: southernitalian

          I thought it was a lesser quality syrup than maple. :-))

        2. I think it comes from North Africa via Sicily. It also is like the picadillo from Latin America. Really interesting flavor, not sweet (unless you add the raisins) but very different. Also used in Indian cooking so you get this very "worldly" vibe of cultures crossing. I love it for a change.

          1. My mother used to make a Greek tomato-based pasta sauce with cinnamon sticks in it, as well as a whole onion studded with cloves. I'm not remembering the name of it right now (we just called it "Greek spaghetti") but it really was delicious.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lawhound05

              I've made moussaka with cinnamon and it was quite delicious. Just had to reframe my idea of cinnamon long enough to enjoy it.

              1. re: lawhound05

                In Erie, PA there are several places where you can get hamburgers or hot dogs with Greek Sauce. Kind of like Cincinnati chili, made with with cinnamon.

              2. I've heard of using cinnamon to cut the acidity of the sauce, but never seen it used as a garnish. I find the presentation very odd.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Terrieltr

                  Yes. I should've been more clear—it wasn't so much the spice as the garnish I found curious.