By: PenPower | September 15, 2016


On the eve of my birthday I think about my mom. I know that may sound odd but she IS the woman who gave birth to me. I also think of my roots. Mom’s ancestors were from Scotland, Ireland, and the United States. I’m told I am one eighth Indian. That probably explains my fascination with Native American culture. My father’s family tree extends directly south from my mother’s European ancestors to Sicily. His parents immigrated from the Comune di Siculiana in Sicily in the early 1900’s. I’ve always loved Italian food. And I have more recently discovered my soul is happiest living in the country, on a farm.

After visiting my grandparents’ home in Siculiana this past spring, a light bulb went off in my head. Sicily is all about agriculture. Farmers raise beef and lamb, grow fruit, vegetables, grains and grapes for extraordinary wine. It’s like one big giant Garden of Eden. And of course, with all those regional ingredients available (let’s not forget fresh fish) they are masters at preparing amazing, farm to table, delizioso cuisine. I have come to realize that the passion I feel for farming and food is literally in my DNA. It’s a gift and since it is my birthday I want to give a gift to my readers – my super secret recipe for Spaghetti Sauce.


Sicilian Red Gold Spaghetti Sauce: Serves 4-6

1/2 cup virgin olive oil (quality is very important -Badia a Coltibuono available Straub’s in St. Louis – have them ship it to you – it’s that good.)

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

3 tsp organic sugar

3 tbls fresh chopped basil

2tbls fresh chopped Italian flat parsley

1 tsp dried organic oregano

1 and ½ tube of Amore all natural Tomato paste (this is double strength and equals 12oz)

28 oz chopped Roma and/or Juliet tomatoes  (if not in season use Pomi chopped tomatoes from Italy)

½ cup red wine (Italian if possible, robust and dry)

½ cup water

1 lb Italian sausage


Judith Hennessey


Brown sausage; drain, pat with paper towels to remove excess fat and set aside. Heat oil in large pot. Add onions and saute 5mins or until onion is translucent. Stir in salt, pepper, sugar, basil, parsley, oregano, tomato paste, tomatoes, wine, water and the browned sausage. Cover and simmer on very low heat for at least 2 hours (the longer the better- I find 3 hours is best), stirring frequently. Remove lid if you find the sauce is to thin for last half hour. For maximum flavor, refrigerate the sauce overnight and serve the next day. Freeze any any leftovers – my guess is there won’t be. In fact, I double the recipe every time so I CAN freeze the red gold.

 Sept. 2016

by Judith Hennessey

By: PenPower | April 06, 2016

Posted by Judith Hennessey, April 20, 2016, for Earth Day!

You’re looking at it. "The Tree of One Hundred Horses" is located in Sand’alfo, Sicily. It’s somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 years old with a trunk measuring over 190 feet. It was aging gracefully before some lunatic recently tried to burn it down. Crazy right? I stumbled upon on this magnificent specimen when I was in Sicily this month.


We were at Barone DI Viilagrande winery in Milo, in the Mount Etna region, enjoying a foraged pureed asparagus soup with a hint of fennel (these Sicilians are farm-to-table on steroids – they forage the surrounding forest for ingredients for their dishes) and enjoying a flinty chardonnay. The subject of American slang came up as we tried to explain to our driver, who joined us for our wine tasting, what ‘older than dirt meant.’ Everything around us was, well, older than dirt! Finally nodding with understanding, he said, “It’s like us saying, it’s older than the Tree of One Hundred Horses!”


I stopped mid-sip. I had read about this tree somewhere. “Oh my god, it’s a Chestnut tree! Is it close to here?” I’m a tree-hugger amongst other things and was stunned by this weird turn of events. I thought there was no way in hell I would be able to drag husband, son, sister and brother-in-law to see one tree when World UNESCO sites and temples dating to 340 BC were scattered around the island like sea shells.


“It’s 20 minutes from here. Would you like to see it?” I could tell our driver was impressed, looking at me with newfound respect, like I wasn’t just another dumb brunette American.


My mouth hung open. He proceeded to tell about the tree’s name, how a princess with 100 knights in tow rode up to the tree in a thunderstorm, taking refuge under its massive branches. “She was, ah…,” he stammered, ”ah…,” clearly searching for an English word that would not offend me.


“Promiscuous?“ I asked. My son blushed, my husband cackled, the Sicilian driver flashed a sly sexy smile and replied, ”You can only imagine what happened.”


God save the Trees! 

Judith Hennessey