A sheet of fragrant bread dough enclosing pork, olives and broccoli: the Sicilian scacciata is a traditional dish that has never left this magical island; to taste it, you’ll need to head for the home of a genuine Sicilian family, set amidst Sicilian donkey carts, works of art and citrus groves; or you can make it with this recipe!
Sicilians are very proud of their land and their produce, but the scacciata is a special source of pride. The scacciata is street food, made from bread, with ingredients that come from the heart of Sicily, from its warm and welcoming land.
It’s difficult to find a specific recipe for scacciata precisely because it is one of those dishes that are passed down from generation to generation, from grandparents to parents and from parents to grandchildren.
Unofficial sources claim that the scacciata appeared on Sicilian tables around the 17th century, as the basic dish of peasant communities. The recipe was handed down in rural areas during the Kingdom of Sicily and during the period of the Two Sicilies before it landed on urban tables a century later. According to some popular accounts, in 1763 the prince of Paternò wanted a scacciata for his Christmas table, and it seems that since then it has been a traditional dish for celebrating Christmas. In Sicily today, the scacciata is very widespread; it is not made industrially. Once again a poor and simple Sicilian dish becomes rich food, whose flavours turn into unforgettable emotional experiences.
To savour a true Sicilian scacciata is like taking a trip to these magnificent places, surrounded by the sea and the flavours of the earth.
Making a Sicilian scacciata requires patience, the same patience needed to make bread. The scacciata’s flavour, when it’s done, will be unlike any other dish you’ve ever tasted in your life. Try it once, and you won’t want to do without it!
When making Sicilian scacciata, you have to start with the bread dough. Crumble the yeast in a bowl, add 50 ml of tepid water and dissolve with your fingers. Add a teaspoon of flour and the sugar and mix together; allow the mixture to rest for about 30 minutes, covering it with a dry towel. Put the remaining flour and the semolina in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and fill it with the lard, the dissolved yeast and the remaining tepid water. Mix well into a ball. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead it until it is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in an oiled bowl, cover with a dry towel and keep in a dry place for one hour, until it has doubled in volume.
Remove the skin from the sausage and crumble the sausage. In a large pan heat a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and soften the chopped garlic in it. Add the sausage and brown on all sides, then turn off the heat.
Wash the broccoli and cut into pieces; blanch for a few minutes in lightly salted boiling water, then drain thoroughly. Heat the pan with the sausage, add the broccoli and sauté. Salt, pepper and season to taste with some chili flakes; finally, add the pitted black olives.
Divide the dough in two and roll into two thin sheets. Place one sheet in the oiled pan, cover it with the broccoli-and-sausage stuffing, then cover it with the other sheet of dough. Seal the sheets together by pressing lightly with the fingers. Pierce the surface of the scacciata with the tines of a fork and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Preheat the regular oven to 200°C, or the convection oven to 180°C, and bake the scacciata for 30/40 minutes until the surface is golden brown and crisp. Brush the scacciata with extra-virgin olive oil and allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting it in rectangles to serve.
For a more practical approach, you can replace the dough with two squares of puff pastry; the result will not be the same, but you’ll have a very good scacciata in any case.