Monday, December 28, 2015

Have You Ever Heard of Scaccia?

It has been a family favorite for over 100 years!

It is kind of like a calzone, but better. It comes from Ragusa in Sicily, where my grandfather was born and lived until he moved to the USA in 1910. You can find it, ready-to-eat, in every bakery in that little town. Even Rick Steves talks about this regional food in his book about traveling through Sicily and he highly recommends taking the time to visit Ragusa since it's the only place you will find this dish. 

My family has made a variety of different types of scaccia for Christmas Eve all of my life. I have worked hard to create vegan scaccia, veggie scaccia, and scaccia with meat. You can make these too!

I start with pizza dough. Back in the day I would actually make my own dough using my grandfather's recipe. But with all of the kneading, rising, more kneading, and more rising, I was exhausted by the time Christmas Eve arrived. Now, I order 8 rounds of pizza dough from our local Italian Deli. It is way better than the supermarket variety and just as good, but less expensive than Whole Foods' dough. 
Roll & stretch, but don't tear.

I also try to make this a little healthier, so instead of using lard, I use Spectrum's non-non-hydrogonated shortening. You start by stretching out the dough on a lightly floured board. You can use a rolling pin, but be careful to stretch the dough without tearing it. If it's not cooperating, walk away fro five minutes and then come back and continue to roll and stretch the dough into a rectangle.

Dab it with little pats of Spectrum shortening and start to roll up the dough from one of the short or the long sides adding more shortening along the way so the dough will be soft and flaky when baked. 

Then, roll it up from one end to resemble a cinnamon bun.

Once the dough is all rolled up, roll it into a "cinnamon roll" style bun. Add more shortening all over the surface and set it to rise on a clean, floured cloth.  Cover it with another clean cloth and allow it to rise for an hour in a draft-free place. 

Roll and stretch the rolled up dough out again, add more pats of the shortening.  In the center third of the wide rectangle, add one of the topping sets listed here:

My family's favorite: Ricotta/sausage/Provolone:  Ricotta (from the Italian store), Italian sweet sausage (removed from the casing), slivers of provolone (from the Italian store), salt, and pepper. You can replace the real sausage with Tofurky's Italian veggie sausage (diced) to make this a vegetarian dish.)

Our Veggie favorite:  Eggplant/tomato/onions:  Eggplant (peeled, cubed,  boiled until soft, & drained), sliced onion, jarred plum tomatoes, minced fresh garlic, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

Our Vegan favorite:  Daiya/veggie sausage:  Shredded Daiya (vegan mozzarella cheese), Tofurky's Italian veggie sausage (diced), nutritional yeast (gives this a cheesy flavor), salt, and pepper.
Vegan Daiya is on the dough.
In the bowls you can see the real ricotta and real Italian sausage for the meat & dairy eaters.

Fold over one of the sides of the dough to cover the toppings and add some more pats of shortening to the dough. (I didn't say this was healthy, only that it's healthier than the ones made with lard.) :) 

Add more topping to that layer of dough, but not as mush as the first layer.  Then, fold the last end of dough onto the top of the scaccia.  Seal the ends by pinching the dough closed. You can also add a few toothpicks here to keep the ends closed. 

Apply an egg wash (1 beaten egg with a splash of water mixed in) to the top of the dough. You can use an egg replacer for the vegan variety.

Pierce the top with a fork.  Let it sit for 30 min before putting it in a 375 degree oven. Move it around the oven while it bakes making sure it doesn't brown too quickly. You want to make sure the real sausage is completely cooked and not pink, so leave that one in for a good 40-50 minutes.
My daughter and me making scaccia.

Let it cool. Then cut it into 2" wide strips and serve. 

This is what the finished product looks like:


Post a Comment