I bet you have thought to prepare the Sicilian pizza for many months. I also bet you looked at many websites to discover how to prepare the authentic recipe. Well, if you really want to know this, I wrote this piece for you. Here, you’ll find only the plain truth about the Sicilian pizza. Before deepening this recipe, I warn you that the Sicilian pizza does not exist, it has been never existed, because pizza is not a traditional Sicilian recipe. Indeed, the term Sicilian pizza is the twisted name of an ancient Sicilian recipe which has nothing to do to with it. The authentic and original name of the Sicilian pizza is scacciuni or scacciata, namely a dough kneaded with hard wheat flour and topped with or without tomato, Sicilian cheese, olives, onions, anchovies, ham, mushrooms, aromatic herbs and different foods, such as broccoli, potatoes, peppers, eggplants and spinaches.
The covered dough stuffed with spinaches is called “ calzone”, “piduni” or piduneddu” in Sicilian, because of its very small sizes. Many sources said this pizza has a square shape, but also this information is false. The Sicilian Pizza, namely scacciata, schiacciata or scacciuni can have both a square and round shape. The unique differences with the Neapolitan pizza is that the first is a thin bread dough base with a round shape, while the second is a stuffed dough enclosing sausage, olives, broccoli and other delicious food inside it. Indeed, the Sicilian pizza has a double dough wrapping the internal content. For this reason, it is also called “covered pizza”. Since Sicilians are very fussy about their original and traditional recipes, they simply call this recipe “scacciata or scacciuni”.
You surely know about the sfincione o sfinciuni of Palermo (see the image above). Well, this is a very thick square scacciata, also called spongy dough. Its name derives just from the thickness of the dough. It has only a bread base (it is not a covered pizza) topped with onions, tomato, caciocavallo and aromatic herbs, above all, rosemary. The most famous one is the sfinciuni of Cinisi, a picturesque village in the province of Palermo. The traditional scacciata or scacciuni, instead, is prepared in the province of Catania, Syracuse, Ragusa and Messina, while the piduni or piduneddu is above all prepared and eaten in the province of Catania.
More info about the sfincione, namely the Sicilian pizza of Palermo
The Sicilian pizza called sfincione was born as a holiday food, but that was a rustic and poor dish. The basic idea was the one to add a simple stuffing of onions, anchovies, caciocavallo and tomato, to the bread dough. That is a cheap stuffing for a pizza. Earlier, the sfincione was prepared on Christmas holidays, today it is an unmissable custom on the Eve of the Immaculate Conception day. During that day, along the streets in Palermo and the villages of this province, you can hear an intensive e smell of onion in the air. Another fundamental occasion to eat the sfincione, it was the engagement party. Over the year, this dish has become a street food, because the street pizza makers bring this delicious dish to the homes of Sicilians in every moment of the day.
History of the Sicilian pizza
The history of Sicilian pizza is uncertain. It is told that it was prepared by nuns in a convent in Palermo, at the end of the XIX century. However, this was also a traditional recipe prepared by the housewives of the Sicilian peasants who went to work hard in the fields at the dawn. As I said the true Sicilian pizza has a fully different look from the one prepared in Naples. It is only a tasty covered, crisp and fragrant dough stuffed with the ingredients I mentioned in the previous paragraphs. Among the most famous Sicilian pizza, I want to remind you the one prepared in Viagrande, a pretty village in the district of Catania, in 1885. At the time, the noble Sicilians loved to eat Sicilian pizza in their magnificent villas above all in the summer, while today, the Sicilian pizza is mostly prepared on the eve of the new year or at the Good Friday. The Sicilian immigrants also made the Sicilian Pizza known in the Us at the early years of the past century.
How to prepare the Sicilian schiacciata pizza
The way to prepare the Sicilian pizza changes upon the kind of pizza you want to eat. Since this is a blog about Sicily, I suggest that you prepare only the original Sicilian pizza, namely a scacciata or schiacciata dough recipe.
To prepare the scacciata for four persons, you need : one kg of bread dough, an extra virgin oil spoon, 100 g of black olives, 50 g of capers, 50 g of anchovies, 50 g of chopped onions, 200 g of toma or caciocavallo, namely the traditional Sicilian cheese ( in the Neapolitan pizza, it is used mozzarella of buffalo). Then, you must decide the internal content, mushrooms, sausages, broccoli, spinaches, potatoes, eggplants? If you want to prepare the original covered Sicilian pizza, you should prepare it with broccoli or spinaches. This kind of scacciata is without sauce tomato. You can also prepare the bread dough by yourself. Buy a kg of hard wheat flour. It is better you buy a kg of Sicilian hard wheat flour. This kind of flour is not poisoned with preservatives and pesticides, because the Sicilian sun kills parasite, bacteria and insects during the growing. If you prepare your Sicilian pizza with this kind of flour, you’ll get a very delicious, organic recipe. I always prepare my Sicilian pizza with Sicilian hard wheat flour. The taste of this pizza has been always and really unbeatable.
How to prepare the bread dough
Put the flour in a bowl and pour from two to four glasses of water into it. Add salt, a spoon of extra virgin olive oil and 10 g of natural yeast. Knead the mixture carefully for some minutes and leave to rest for 50 minutes at room temperature, or for 20 minutes in a warm oven (set the temperature at 50 degrees). After this time, knead the dough again and press it on a square or round pan. Before doing this, add some drops of olive oil to the surface of the pan to prevent the pizza sticking to it during the cooking. Prepare the dough base and season it with the spinaches you boiled in a pot for a few minutes. Add chopped and pitted black olives, capers , black pepper, anchovies s, garlics or onions, and toma. Use onions, if you want also to add ham or sausage to the spinaches, add garlics if you want to leave the dough only with the vegetable. This procedure is similar also when you add the broccoli, eggplants, or potatoes, or pepperoni to the dough. If you choose these stuffing instead of spinaches, use onions and not garlic. After finishing stuffing the dough base, press a second dough on another pan and put it onto the stuffed dough, wrap the edges carefully, as if you are creating a plait. Brush a spoon of beaten egg on the covered surface, to prevent it to burn during cooking. Bake the scacciata you prepared in the oven, at 200 degrees. Leave cooking for 45 minutes. Remember to move the tray up and down in the oven, in order to check if the bread dough browns.
After all this procedure, you’ll taste an unforgettable and delicious authentic Sicilian pizza. About the scacciata with spinaches, you can also create a small stuffed dough, with a length of 20 cms. These are the famous piduneddi. They have an oval shape and the plait to wrap the dough is not along the sides of the tray, but amid the covered bread dough ( see the image). With a kg of dough, you can get ten small piduneddi to be baked in the same tray where you should prepare the scacciata.
Instead, If you want to prepare the sfincione, namely the Sicilian pizza of Palermo which has only the dough base stuffed with tomato, onions, caciocavallo and rosemary, remember to leave rise the bread dough for over an hour, at least. The more the dough leavens, the more it becomes spongy.
Sicilian sfincione: www.palermoviva.it
Featured image about the Sfincione of Palermo: Raffaella Ciunci – Flickr
Square sicilian scacciata: newsicilia.it
Round Sicilian scacciata with broccoli: www.chieftime.it
A piece of Sicilian scacciata with spinaches : http://www.ropa55.ifood.it/