Scacciata Siciliana – also called Schiacciata, Scaccia, Scacciuni depending on which part of Sicily it is made – is a traditional rustic pie usually cooked during winter season, especially on Christmas holidays.
Scacciata Siciliana: history and tradition
It is common belief that Scacciata – meaning “squashed” – was originally born around the XVII century as a peasant dish to reuse dinner leftovers. As a matter of fact, this typical baked focaccia is traditionally stuffed with a variety of vegetables, cheese and meat and have several flavours combinations.
In 1763, Prince Moncada of Paternò wanted to introduce this dish in his Christmas table and since then, the Sicilian Scacciata has become a must eat in Christmas celebrations in Sicily.
What is Scacciata Catanese?
The Scacciata can be defined as a delicious stuffed bread, similar to a Calzone or Stromboli, prepared with bread dough, a kind of double crusted pizza. The classic ingredients of its filling are Tuma cheese, black olives and anchovies but also the vegetable stuffed scacciatas are also very popular in each Sicilian bakery!
In Catania town and surroundings it is easy to find Scacciata (pronunciation Ska-cha-ta) all year round. Usually you can buy it at the bakery in slices (or order an entire Scacciata for your family dinners or parties!). Sicilian people love to eat Scacciata as winter dinner and we can say Scacciata is by far one of our favorite winter comfort food!
The most popular fillings are: Cauliflower, broccoli and sausage, potatoes and cabbage, ham and cheese, tuma cheese and anchovies, spinach and cheese etc.
One of my favorite Scacciata’s stuffing is Broccoli and sausage and I want to share with you my personal recipe of Sicilian Scacciata here below.
Homemade Broccoli and sausage Sicilian Scacciata
Firsty, I want to highlight that this recipe does not include the dough preparation because I always buy the pizza dough at the bakery and let it rise half an hour at home, covered in warm towels, before cooking it. I believe you can ask your baker to save some bread dough (I usually buy around 700gr of it) and sell it to you. I promise you will manage to get a marvellouse Sicilian style Scacciata!
700gr Bread/pizza dough
1 kg Broccoli
300 gr Pepato fresco cheese
100gr grated Pecorino cheese
1 cup red wine
1 big onion
1 cup black olives
2/3 sausage links
Salt and pepper
Step 1. Cover the dough in warm towels and let it rest and leaven for roughly 30 minutes, checking it every now and then to make sure it is actually ready. In the meantime, cut and wash the Broccoli (do not through the leaves away).
Step 2. Cook the Broccoli. I like to put cooked vegetables inside my Scacciata because this is the way my mum has always made it, however some people do not pre-cook the Broccoli but just put raw broccoli inside the Scacciata. We cook Broccoli (or cauliflower) for the Scacciata filling following another traditional Sicilian recipe called Broccoli Affogati.
Step 3. Cook the Sausage. Put the sausage in a pan with a bit of water in it. While the sausage is gently cooking, punch it every now and then to let the sausage liquid getting out.
Step 4. Take the dough and divide it in two smaller doughs. Roll them out on your work surface using flour, then transfer one dough in a baking sheet with greaseproof paper (or if you prefer, just grease the baking sheet with olive oil).
Step 5. Filling. Pour the broccoli (or cauliflower) on top of the dough, followed by chopped sausage and slices of Pepato fresco cheese. Cover this with the second dough and seal the edges twisting them round up in order to create a twisted rope pattern which will avoid the filling to get out. Using a fork, make small holes on top of the Scacciata; this will let the steam getting out while in the oven.
Step 6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake the Scacciata for 30/40 minutes in ventilated mode. Once the top and underneath is nicely goldened, take the Scacciata out and wet its surface with a greased napkin to soften it. Cover the Scacciata with a cloth and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Serve the scacciata when it is lukewarm.
Share this recipe and let me know in the comments box how your scacciata taste like!