The first time I had Pasta Alla Norma—the Sicilian dish of pasta tossed with tomato sauce, sautéed eggplant, and ricotta salata—it was at a red sauce Italian joint in New York. I must admit I came away questioning whether the Sicilians really knew as much about fine food and good living as the movies give them credit for. It wasn't until a couple months ago that I really got it, and it took a trip all the way to the source to figure it out. Since then, I've been trying to figure out how to recreate it at home, using readily-available ingredients.
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I don't think they really eat broccoli rabe like this in Sicily, but having just returned from a week of gorging myself on everything I could find on that pretty and olive-oil soaked island, I can tell you that the flavors represented in this dish—the sweet and sour of vinegar and sugar, the butteriness of pinenuts and olive oil—is about as Sicilian as it gets. Plus, "Sicilian Style Sweet and Sour Broccoli Rabe" just sounds sexier than "Not-Sicilian Broccoli Rabe with Sicilian-ish Flavors," doesn't it?